Sep 19 2012

Prayer and Seeing Creation

As I have noted numerous times in the past, seeing God in Creation does not necessarily come easy for us.  A group of people might walk the same trail and see the same things but that does not mean that all of them, or any, will experience or see God.  I am convinced that there has to be both an openness and a desire to see God in Creation for this to happen on a regular basis.  Likewise, I am confident that there is no better way to prepare oneself to see or experience God in nature than prayer.  With this in mind, I’d like to commend to you today a prayer I discovered in John Baillie’s little book, A Diary of Private Prayer.  It reads:

“Creator Spirit, who broodest everlastingly over the lands and waters of the earth, enduing them with forms and colors which no human skill can copy, give me today, I beseech Thee, the mind and heart to rejoice in Thy creation.  Forbid that I should walk through Thy beautiful world with unseeing eyes: Forbid that the lure of the market-place should ever entirely steal my heart away from the love of the open acres and the green trees:  Forbid that under the low roof of workshop or office or study I should ever forget Thy great overarching sky:  Forbid that when all Thy creatures are greeting the morning with songs and shouts of joy, I alone should wear a dull and sullen face: Let the energy and vigor which in Thy wisdom Thou has infused into every living thing stir today within my being, that I may not be among Thy creatures as a sluggard and a drone:  And above all give me grace to use these beauties of earth without me and this eager stirring of life within me as a means whereby my soul may rise from creature to Creator, and from nature to nature’s God.”

I cannot help but believe that if we offered a prayer such as this on a regular basis it would be of great benefit to us.  The Bible would seem to affirm this.  In the Book of James we read “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” (4:2)   Also, Jesus taught, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

I encourage all those wanting to see and experience God in His Creation to remember the importance of prayer in this endeavor.  All my life I have heard people say, “prayer changes things.”  This is no doubt true; it even changes how we see nature or Creation.

–Chuck

(I took both of the pictures above at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Tennessee.)


Feb 23 2011

God, Mammon and Creation

Angel-Falls-Overlook-dawn-(v)-crYesterday I was thumbing through Warren Wiersbe’s book, Real Worship, when I came across this passage: “When we want to enjoy creation without honoring the Creator, we end up exploiting creation just to satisfy our selfish appetites.  We become covetous and idolatrous, and this is the root cause of the ecological problems the world faces today.  When we start to ‘play God,’ we end up destroying what God has given us ‘richly…to enjoy’ (1 Timothy 6:17).”  I believe Wiersbe’s words are prophetic in nature.

In recent weeks I have been deeply disturbed as I have watched Congress, as well as my own state legislature, seek to dismantle laws which were adopted to protect the environment—God’s Creation.  Much of what is being done is supposedly a response to the economic crisis our country is experiencing.  I don’t buy that.  I feel it has more to do with the fact that “we have become covetous and idolatrous.”  Many of our present environmental laws are being attacked because they are supposedly “bad for business.”  Does making an extra dollar trump God’s call for us to care for His Creation?  Does it override the health and well-being of that which He has created?  If so, it is clear to me that we are now worshiping Mammon and not God. 

Angel-Falls-Overlook-(v)-crI truly do want to see people succeed and prosper but becoming rich is not the ultimate goal of life in God’s kingdom.  Worshiping God and putting Him first will always be the primary goal.  We do not honor the Creator when we threaten the health of humans, the land and wildlife by lessening environmental standards just so a few businesses can make a greater profit.  Nor do we honor God when we “end up exploiting creation to satisfy our selfish appetites.” 

The group Sojourners is preparing to send members of Congress plastic bracelets that ask “What Would Jesus Cut?”  They, like me, realize that there are moral implications to the cuts being discussed in Congress.  Some of the cuts will hurt the poor badly.  Other cuts will hurt the environment and therefore all of us.  At this point all I know to do is voice my concern, pray for our political leaders and hope that they don’t ‘play God’ and “end up destroying what God has given us richly to enjoy.”

–Chuck

(Both of these images were taken at Angel Falls Overlook in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area in Tennessee.)