Apr 10 2013

Reserves of Strength

_CES4177“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…” Psalm 8:3

My friends at R120 (make sure to check out their Facebook page) recently shared a quote from Rachael Carson’s delightful book, The Sense of Wonder.  It reads: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.” I could not agree more with Carson’s words.

river sunset 576In God’s awesome Creation there truly are reserves of strength waiting for all of us.  I would like to emphasize the word “waiting” here because we do not gain strength from these reserves automatically.  As Carson points out, they prove profitable for those “who contemplate the beauty of the earth.”  Some will notice a flock of birds flying overhead and think nothing of it.  Others will just observe the crashing waves and give no thought to the perpetual ebb and flow of the tides.  As spring begins to put on its annual show of color many will no doubt take note but how many will give any noticable thought to what it means for the earth to renew itself this way each year?

AGPix_summers402_0010_Lg[1]In the Scriptures it becomes clear that David, Jesus, Paul and others paid close attention to what was happening in the natural world.  They found spiritual lessons there but one cannot help but believe they also found healing and strength in God’s Creation.  I am convinced that this was God’s plan from the beginning.  The natural world does not exist solely to meet our physical needs.  There is much in Creation that meets emotional and spiritual needs as well.  Spending time in nature can be therapeutic and healing.  By actually taking the time to contemplate on or study God’s “other Book” we can find strength to sustain us, as well as reason for hope.

I believe nature has something to offer us in all seasons but spring truly is a special time.  I encourage you to get out and enjoy the wonders of this season.  As you do so contemplate what you are seeing, hearing and feeling.  Remember that God is waiting to be found in Creation and that in nature He has provided for all of us reserves of strength to help us on our journey.  It only makes sense that we take advantage of this precious gift.


(I took the top image from my driveway in Pikeville, Ky; the middle image on the coast of California; and the coneflower in Tennessee.)

Sep 1 2009

Partially Blind?

morning gloryRachel Carson is probably best known for her environmental classic Silent Spring.  One of her other books that I have enjoyed is The Sense of Wonder.  Here she writes, “For most of us, knowledge of our world comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind.   One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before?  What if I knew I would never see it again?’”

Something tells me that if we asked Carson’s two questions more often we would definitely begin to look at things differently.  Far too many of us are guilty of taking our surrounding for granted.  Numerous times I have presented slide shows featuring the beauty of the area I live in to local folks who afterwards say they can’t believe that such beauty exists all around them.  They have quit seeing what is there.

Getting into photography seventeen years ago literally gave me a new set of eyes through which to see the world.  I have become far more observant of my surroundings than I was before.  Still, I have no doubt that there is much I miss every day.  It would help me if I would remember to ask Carson’s two questions more often.

Being able to see truly is a gift from God.  The scriptures teach us that with gift comes responsibility.  Does it not, then, make sense that failure to see all God wants us to see is a sin?   That we are expected to be good stewards of our vision?  In the Gospels we read of various blind people seeking Jesus’ healing touch.  Perhaps some of us who are “partially blind” need to ask for his healing touch as well.


(The photo of the morning glory seen above was recently taken in my yard.)