Monday, May 18, 2015

Evident Within Them

"because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."  Romans 1:19-20
Grand Tetons, Wyoming, August 2005
I'm a nature lover, through and through. Have been ever since I can remember. Those flowers at grandma's house, the willow tree with branches low enough for the most timid of preschoolers to ascend, the babbling creek with such hidden treasures as crawdads and snails, and that first glimpse of the Rockies as a third grader. Each and every minuscule or majestic detail of nature called out to me. I didn't become well-acquainted with the Bible or Christianity until my mid-teens. Yet I had always known a Creator must exist. I never disagreed when the grade school texts gave credit to evolution, but I never bought it.

I didn't realize until years later that my heart-felt, childlike faith in a Creator was God Himself, tugging at my inmost being and calling out to me. When I first stumbled upon the above verses in Romans many years ago, the proverbial light bulb went off. YES - that was it! God had ever-so-gently been making Himself evident to me through His magnificent creation from the early days of my existence.

While my child-like faith developed into a deeply personal relationship with my Savior and Creator, countless others' throughout history have waned. Those early inklings of belief in the invisible attributes of God are often replaced with a respect and awe of "Mother Earth." Isn't that like feeling a deep respect and appreciation of the Canon in D, without acknowledging Pachelbel? 

Yesterday, I stood upon an overlook that gives a wonderful view of the Missouri River and bridge at Glasgow. My father drew and designed the plans for that small shelter and overlook many years ago. Is his name engraved upon it? No. Did the two bikers sharing a beer under the shelter yesterday feel the same connection with the designer that I did? Of course not - they had no idea who he was. Yet I suspect they appreciated the view, the shade from the sun, and a relaxing place to enjoy the cool breeze. Their lack of knowledge of the designer in no way lessened the fact that a designer existed. I stood there, enjoying the same view and fresh breeze...yet feeling more deeply connected and blessed for having known the one who dreamed up the idea of such a place. I got it - the entire, fully connected much richer than their fleeting, superficial moment.

When an outdoor enthusiast/author like Jeff Johnson says, "I’m drawn to the open country. It's where everything is clear, where the world makes the most sense. When I put myself out there I always return with something new. A friend once told me the best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn't even think to ask,” I can't help thinking he's ALMOST got it, he's almost found The Best Answer ever, without even knowing a question existed.

So many people have a deep love and respect for all that nature entails. I loved the new "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" movie, because of the way it clearly depicts that deep yearning within us for something more than just an 8 to 5 job; something more than this concrete, predictable life of sidewalks and office buildings. We yearn for relationships with other people and time to explore and appreciate fluid moments in nature, like the snow leopard's rare and momentary appearance. "Beautiful things don't ask for attention."

No, they don't; nor does He. One wise woman put it this way, many years ago, "God is a perfect gentleman." He doesn't force Himself into our lives. You will find no brass plaque at the base of the Himalayas, declaring, "The God of creation formed this!" Yet God's love and beauty surround us each and every day if we take the time to notice and search - to see Him standing there, like the Gentleman that He is, quietly holding the door open for us.