For a week in July, friends of “Baptists Today” journeyed together through Glacier National Park bringing strangers together from across the Southeast who quickly found friendships with one another. That’s not hard to do when you share a love for God and nature.
Inspiration seems to come easier when God paints the sky against a backdrop of lakes, waterfalls, streams, wildflowers, glaciers, and mountains.
Inspiration emerged from our group through photography, writings, prayers, and songs. On our last night together, Scott Willis offered an original guitar composition and song he’d written that week, “Maker of All Things.” The Psalmist was equally inspired by the natural world that surrounded him. In fact, the eighth Psalm was written to be sung.
In the presence of the beauty of Glacier Park, the words of the Psalmist seemed easier to recite. Knowing the ages that were required for the glaciers to form and glaciers cut out the valleys and formed the lakes that are currently there, and knowing that time is slowly claiming the few glaciers that remain, I understand more clearly how nature caused the Psalmist to write, “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”
In our arrogance we move about and think we are all there is in this world. But long before we came, God had busied Himself with other creation and He continues to busy Himself with other creation. While we sleep, drink our coffee and prepare for the day, get children ready for school, impatiently sit in traffic, put in a day’s work, try to enjoy and live fulfilled lives in retirement, care for the aging, and eventually find our way to the end to this journey, the cycle of nature continues in the mountains and the valleys. Weather systems dictate the length of the seasons and the seasons dictate the mating patterns of the animals.
While we control none of this, the Psalmist said that God made us to be rulers over the works of His hands. My, what a great responsibility we have for its care!
To even come close to properly caring for God’s creation, we must first recognize the great gift that creation is to us. This is one of the reasons that the National Parks, like Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton, are such national treasures and among the greatest gifts given to the American people and to the world by our government.
Just as a song says something of the artist who wrote it and a painting says something of the artist who painted it, creation says something about the Creator. What it says to you may be different than what it says to me because God and nature evokes something different within each one of us. Like the uniqueness that exists in each snowflake and every fingerprint, nature affects us in unique ways. Because of this, we can each share and learn from the other what nature teaches us about God.
That cannot happen unless we find our way into nature. We don’t have to go to Glacier Park to do that. Just walk out your back door. Notice how the stars flicker against the deep darkness of night. Watch the birds find their next meal. Get up early enough to watch the sun rise. Take a hike until you can’t hear any traffic. Listen to wind whistling through the trees. Smell the freshness that comes after the rain. Watch the butterflies dance across the meadow. And as you do, listen to the voice of God.