June 30, 2013

In harmony with His world

Near our home is a wildlife sanctuary. It isn’t famous nor does anyone charge admission. Instead, it is a deep coulee, heavily treed that runs from a highway on the south toward a main avenue on the north. This subdivision was purchased and built from a man who insisted these several acres be left in their natural state. Some have seen moose in this wild and tangled place, but it is inhabited mostly by birds and smaller animals.

The park has two paved trails going in opposite directions from the entrance across the street. I often ride my bike on these trails and am amazed that I can go from city traffic into a forest containing no motors and little noise. The most delightful treasures are the smells. I detect the perfume of clover, wild roses, tree leaves, mushrooms, mown grass (from homes on the park’s perimeter), and wild flowers. These will change as summer progresses, but return in every spring in May and June.

These stressful days under the discipline of God and the pressures of life, I am blessed when I get outside under blue skies and bright sun. His care seems nearer, easier to experience when the leaves rustle and birds sing. Today’s devotional reminds me of the power of wandering in a park even as God is working to change my life…

Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal. He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you. In famine he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue, and shall not fear destruction when it comes. At destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the beasts of the earth. For you shall be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you. (Job 5:17–23)

God’s blessings, even in His discipline are genius. He works to change my life, but in the working, He also brings great joy and peace. I can count on Him to bring June every year, with these aromas, the sights and sounds of renewing growth and nature’s pleasures, yet in Him they never become ordinary. These simple pleasures delight every heart that gives them attention. It is God hugging me with His great love. Is that what it means to “have a covenant with the stones of the field”?

The speaker in these verses is talking of those who trust in God, who are at peace with Him and entered into a covenant with Him. He is saying that if I am in league with heaven, then I will also be in league with the very stones of the earth.

I know that is true. Peace with God changes my relationship to the birds, beasts and flowers around me. Just as those in love say the sky is a brighter blue, being in a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ changes the attitude I have toward the world around me, even changes the way nature blesses me.

Those whose spiritual and moral state is base and in defiance of God tend to mock His laws and His person. They see no reason why they should not toss their garbage on the earth. While some of them hug trees and defend seals, they do it because they worship those created things rather than the One who created them. Godlessness puts the human heart out of harmony with tree and flower and summer delights. When I am at odds with the Lord, I am the same and do not even notice sunsets and gentle breezes.

Being at peace with God, even when God is reproving and wounding me, means having a comradeship with the created world. It means reading sermons in the trees of the forest, the grass of the plains, the stones of the field. This is not about the beauty of an artistic scene, but the morality and rightness of God’s handiwork that becomes a ministry to my heart, that blesses me and restores a deeper sense of His love for me.

Sadly, to be out of touch with God puts me out of touch with God’s ideal in all that He has made. Yet to be in tune with Him joyfully puts me in league with even the stones of the field.

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