I love nature. It’s always been how I’ve related to God. As a child my backyard immediately sloped upwards. After you reached the top of the ten-foot climb, you would find yourself neck-deep in my neighbor’s wheat fields. I used to go out there all the time just because I liked the feeling of the wheat grazing my ears as I bolted through the barren, yet crowded meadow.
I promise I’m going to get to those faith shenanigans soon, just bear with me
Off to the left of my yard we had a straight line of pine trees, starting at my house and running all the way up the slope to meet the wheat field. There was about a two to three foot gap between the tree line and my next-door neighbor’s fence. Needless to say, you could find me tucked away in there very often trying to get away.
These beautiful images of God’s nature are truly where I saw him for the first time. They were subtle glimpses, and I was unaware to actually seeing God, but I would constantly ponder, “Who constructs such intricately and wonderfully designed creatures?” I use the word “creatures” because as a child, I insisted that because plants grew, they were just as much alive, and just as much human as we were.
Now, jumping ahead to my present-day self, I still interact with nature. A couple months ago I was getting ready to head out for a day alone. I went to this local tree-climbing center in my town. I rented some rope, a harness, carabineers, a helmet, and what have you, and dashed outside to start my day.
I slung my rope onto the initial branch above me, strapped in, and began to ascend the towering elm trees on site. I finally made it to my first branch and started to look out over the streets and watch my fellow climbers. Immediately my mind raced to Job 26:6-14. The beauty of God is so vast and endless, and we only hear a faint whisper of him.
My mind sees everything as metaphorical representations of God and faith, because of my interactions with him through nature. I started to envision this eschatological battle between societal figures and humanity. Of course, all of this was occurring in the trees, while the warriors were swinging through the elms. Humanity was striving to reach the tops of the trees where the King, God, was standing. Innocent people were falling from trees everywhere.
At this point, I had climbed a few branches higher. To the point where I was using permanently placed ropes to ensure I was constantly strapped to a branch for my safety.
All of the morbidity that surrounded Job’s life was depicted, in my mind, by envisioning a stream of red drapes flowing down the trees. It represented all the death that society/Satan has created. Their thoughts were skewed. The blood of the previous, pretentious leaders had dyed the drapes red.
Finally, the end comes. And God comes down from his thrown and bleaches the drapes white, and resolves the conflict. He brings everyone to peace and serenity.
If you are still with me, and I hope you are, all of this is to say that God is the only one that can see the whole picture. The passage in Job says, “Death is naked before God; Destruction lies uncovered,” Job 26:6. I see this beautiful image of him bleaching the Earth. In order to cleanse us of all our impurities and reveal the simple, true purity lying within us.
I’ll leave you with this. I could not find any other way to clearly, accurately summarize my thoughts on the world right now other than looking to Scripture. We are constantly trying to solve our problems. If I could stress anything it’s that everything is interrelated. Struggling to find a solution to one thing can affect other facets of life. I am working a camp this summer and this is a verse that we teach young children, yet we do not entertain it ourselves.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight,” Proverbs 3:5-6.
He is the only one who sees it all. We can’t possibly know what the best plan for our life is from the first branch. You’ve got to ascend. Get to God. Allow him to show you how to get there though. Then, and only then, will you be able to see the solemn creation that seems so bleak.