The Outdoors: God’s Call to a Heart that Needs to Worship
I am one of those fortunate people whose heart comes alive in the wild. I didn’t choose to be this way. I believe it was given to me.
And I am profoundly grateful.
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” John Muir
Those who delight in the outdoors are said to “commune with nature.” My experience is different. I find that — in nature — I commune with God.When I am in the Rockies or standing in a green wheat field or wading into the Madison River with fly rod in hand, God pulls me close. It’s as if He whispers:
Greg, breathe this in. Don’t miss it. It’s my gift to you.
Those mountains reflect my strength, my beauty, my wildness, my grandeur. But they are merely a reflection, a foretaste, for I am more intense and vivid and breathtaking than anything your eye has seen.
Wait and see. You will be astonished.
It is intimate. Deep and satisfying.
It leads me to worship. It’s the only appropriate response.
When I am standing outdoors in Montana at dusk, staring up at the big sky where a billion stars make their appearance, I am undone. His enormity exposes my smallness. It is a moment of tremendous clarity. It forces me to ask the same question David pondered centuries ago:
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?”
And then I think of Jesus. The Creator of all things who stooped low to pull me close.
And that thought — more than any other — is what leads me to worship.
Now…if you’ll excuse me. Autumn has come to the Midwest. I must go out so that I might breathe Him in.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
(Photo Credit: Ryan McGuire, Bells Design)
When standing on the beach with my feet in the warm sand, ocean breeze on my face; I feel God’s majesty. I have only been on the beach a handful of times in my life, and each time has been deeply moving. We have committed to going to the beach several times each year now as it is only a 6 hour drive. That coupled with our annual passes to Disneyland, make for a great ‘excuse’ to hit the Pacific Coast Highway more frequently.
I can imaging God telling me of his strength, his all encompassing ability to wash away every stress, sin, and strife… just as the crashing waves wash away foot prints, sand castles and other debris from the shoreline. I feel His strength during high tide, and his soothing never changing ways as the waves continue with their rhythmic thrum… Ahh, now I am yearning for another beach moment…
I’ve had similar experiences on a beach, Kimberley. The ocean is so huge and powerful, yet the psalmist says that God holds it in His hand. Can’t help but produce a sense of wonder.