Look For The Details

magnolia leaves 239As you may or may not know, my blogging partner, Rob Sheppard, has another wonderful site you can find at www.natureandphotography.com.  This past week Rob wrote a delightful entry called “Finding Photos When Nature Is Filled With Stuff.”  His main advice to photographers is to “go for the details” when they find themselves looking at a scene where there’s lots of “stuff.”  I think his advice is also pertinent to those who seek to find God through His Creation.

The Bible clearly teaches that God makes Himself known through what He has made.  That’s good news but it can also be overwhelming.  If God reveals Himself in Creation where in the world do you start to look?  There’s so much to see!  Sometimes for me it is the overall scene or my surroundings that make me aware of God’s presence but at other times I find it helpful to look for the details.  This calls for a more deliberate approach to “seeing Creation.”

magnolia leaves 234I was thinking about all of this yesterday when I was walking in my back yard.  This time of year things are kind of drab around here.  My initial thought was “there’s not much to see right now.”  Then I was drawn to our magnolia tree and the light reflecting off the tops of the leaves.  I drew closer and took a good look at the glossy leaves and studied the patterns that can be found on each if you look close.  I then turned a leaf over and was reminded how very different the underside of a magnolia leaf is.  It is a completely different color and not glossy at all.  Each side is different but both are beautiful.  Unfortunately, most folks would likely never take the time to turn a magnolia leaf over to see its other side.

For those desiring to see more of nature–and God’s handwriting in it–I have two words of advice.  First, slow down and look for the details.  Pay more attention to what is around you.  Draw closer.  You might even want to carry a magnifying glass or a pair of binoculars with you.  Be willing to explore more.  Exercise your curiosity.  Be adventuresome.

Second, ask God to help you see what is around you.  A friend of mine recently reminded me of a wonderful line from C. S. Lewis’ writings: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  This is similar to words penned by the Psalmist, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”  (36:9)  I am convinced that I see more in nature, as well as God’s hand in it, because I’ve asked Him to help me see more.  I believe that God honors our desire to see Him in what He has made so don’t be afraid to ask Him, in the words of the popular hymn, to “open my eyes that I may see.”   There’s no telling what He will show you…

–Chuck

(I photographed the magnolia leaves seen above in my yard this afternoon.)