Sunday, July 19, 2015

Beholding God’s Grandeur: Spiritual Formation in the Great Outdoors

Split Rock Light House on Lake Superior

Whenever possible, I go outdoors for my time with God. Whether sitting on our front porch to enjoy the morning sun while I read my devotions, or walking at the nearby nature reserve as I pray, something about getting outside into God’s creation refreshes me and helps me connect in a brand new way with my Creator.

Meeting God in Creation
Walking with God in nature, I see growing things all around me: trees, grass, flowers, weeds—all green and flourishing. That reminds me that the Lord is the source of life. It invites me to continue to develop in my life, not resting on last year’s or last month’s growth, but rather maturing right here and right now in my life.

In nature I see God’s goodness afresh. The Lord has supplied for all I need. Not only my needs, the Almighty provides the whole earth with sun and rain, night and day, springtime and harvest. Our Lord gives food to all living things—plants and animals, great and small. Psalm 145:15 states:

The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Greater View of God
Perhaps more than anything, prayer time in the great outdoors affords me a bigger glimpse of God—his greatness, his power, his splendor and his majesty! Without being aware of it, we put God in a box. In the back of our minds we picture God as one of us—just on a larger scale. Such a view of God is natural for children, but it must be abandoned if we are to come into a mature understanding of our Creator and our relationship with him. Meeting God outside the box of my house helps me view God beyond the mental box where I unwittingly try to contain him.

Last week a friend and former student, Ryan Dellos, and I went backpacking. What a wonderful time of spiritual refreshment! The rivers, the rugged mountain trails, the beauty of Lake Superior—what a way to behold God’s power in the great outdoors! What a way to gain new vision of God’s greatness, majesty and grandeur!

© 2015 Glenn E. Myers

Friday, July 3, 2015

Glory of God’s Creation: Regaining a Sense of Wonder

Lake at St. John's University

O Lord, our Lord,
            how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
            above the heavens. . . .
When I consider 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 him?
                        -Psalm 8:1-4a

Jesus tells us that to enter the Kingdom of God, we must become like a child. Part of being childlike is regaining a sense of wonder.

A child enters each day with openness and a heart of adventure. Each new thing that he or she sees—even a common ant scurrying across the sidewalk—is viewed through the eyes of wonder. Trees and hills are approached with awe.

As we grow up, we adopt the attitude of “been there and done that.” Nothing evokes a sense of marvel in us. Even when we see new sights, we want to look “cool” and not show our surprise or delight. In short, we do not want to look childish or na├»ve.

Yet, in order to mature spiritually, we must regain our childlike innocence, especially our awe for God’s breathtaking work. Key to spiritual growth is a sense of wonder.

Spending time in creation is one of the best ways for me to rekindle my sense of awe and wonder. Watching waves crash along the shoreline or soaking in the view from a mountain peak refreshes me in ways I cannot explain. Know-it-all attitudes roll away and fresh wonder sprouts in my heart. If I’m alone, I often find myself spontaneously start to quietly sing: “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have made!”

© 2015 Glenn E. Myers