Perceptions and God’s Handiwork
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I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.—George Washington Carver
A way I’ve found helpful to avoid the sense of weariness that can creep in when the queue of deadlines seems to be getting a little too long is to occasionally stop for a few minutes and allow my mind and heart to relax.
Sometimes I’ll step outside onto the balcony or I’ll sit in my chair near the large glass doors and give my sore eyes a break from the computer by looking out at the beauties that fill my view. From my vantage point the scene is one of abundant trees and overgrown fields, with mountains rising in the distance. The dense clusters of trees have a deep green hue that has a soothing effect just in looking at them.
I imagine the birds must think the same thing, because everywhere around the house absolutely teems with birds of different types and sizes and colors. The bright yellow birds are my favorite. They are not only beautiful to look at but also have a strong, cheerful song.
As long as I focus on the distant beauties, it’s nearly impossible to feel anything but inspiration. But unfortunately, like life, all isn’t perfect when I focus in closer. Heavy black and gray cables slash through the beautiful scene just feet from the balcony like ugly strikethrough lines across the picturesque setting before me. They try to capture my attention as if attempting to mar the beauty of this perfect gift from the Lord. Across the little street below, a small house is topped with a large TV antenna, and an old, unused concrete light pole stands askew in the middle of the scene with its upper section missing and spikes of rusty rebar shooting out of its top at all angles. It seems to serve no purpose other than to interfere with nature’s color and design scheme.
I was trying to relax during one of these pause times, but instead had begun looking a bit too much at the drawbacks of this otherwise beautiful scene when the Lord began to chide me in His special way through a little skit, with His creatures as the main performers. As I sat there watching, a bit remorseful for man’s less-than-inspiring additions to the setting before me, my favorite yellow bird landed on the wires just a few feet from the edge of the balcony and began to sing me his choice little tune.
All of a sudden, those wires began to lose their ugliness, because it struck me that if it weren’t for them, this little angelic encourager wouldn’t be there singing to me. As I began to relax, a pair of radiantly red birds perched themselves on the TV antenna. They looked so comfortable and peaceful and they stayed there for a long time, giving me a chance to enjoy their little interactions with each other. They seemed to be communicating so enthusiastically that I could almost imagine them discussing the events of the day. My focus and enjoyment in observing them seemed to make the ugliness of the antenna melt away as it became a stage for this cheerful interlude.
Then the crowning event began to unfold as dark clouds began to quickly roll in. I expected that the Lord’s little show was over, but I was about to see that it had just begun. As the rain began to pour down, an entire chorus line of swallows and sparrows accompanied by my yellow encourager and several red birds began gathering all along the black wires. They were chattering happily in the rain, letting it wash off the dust and dirt of life, as they playfully hopped and cheeped like a bunch of little children playing in a sprinkler.
The downpour subsided after a few minutes. As the sun began to peek out again from behind the black clouds, I looked on my special view in a way that I hadn’t before. It struck me that so much about what faces us in life, especially in the short term and up close in hectic times, can look so ugly and seem to be ruining our view of the hopes and dreams of the more distant future. But so much can change if we will just let the Lord show us how those seemingly ugly things that get so in-our-face at the moment can at times be the avenues for the blessings and beauty and awe that the Lord wants to bring into our life. If we could only remember that they are just the stage being built, on which He can give His most precious treasures of joy and hope and the reminder that there is beauty in everything He sets before us. We just need to be willing to stop and let Him show it to us.—Maria Fontaine
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.—Anne Frank
Holy Ghost with light divine
Shine upon this heart of mine;
Chase the shades of night away,
Turn my darkness into day!
When the Lord puts on a light show—such as a sunset, or a moonrise, or a rainbow, or the clouds, or any of His great, beautiful works of art—we ought to stop and look at it. We ought to pay attention! A butterfly or a flower or a tree or a storm—so many things demonstrate the beauty and power of the Lord!
He creates all that beauty for our benefit, so we ought to show a little appreciation and thanksgiving and praise; otherwise He’s like an actor with no audience. “The living God giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”1
It’s so wonderful to view God’s beautiful creation! It gives you such a wonderful feeling of serenity and peace and calm and power of the Lord and harmony and beauty of His creation, to know that God still lives and still controls things!—David Brandt Berg
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.
Published on Anchor February 2017. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky.
Music by Michael Dooley.