The Harmony of Nature: God’s Promise He Will Not Reject Us

Godishere

“Look at the sun shining in the window,” my counselor once said as she reminded me to notice the “little” signs of hope that God is still with us. I looked up at the small window up in the corner of the room. Sunlight streamed in, but I hadn’t noticed it.

It appears every day, so what’s so special about it? How does that give us hope? Sometimes our eyes are either so glued to our troubles that we can’t see past them to the miracles of life and God’s provision, or we are so accustomed to seeing a miracle that we become blinded to see what a gracious gift it is.

When we were on vacation, we took a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River. My husband and I got excited every time we saw a bald eagle. A young man in front of us asked, “Don’t you see them where you live?”

“No… More hawks than eagles…”

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“We see them all the time in Osh Kosh, so I guess I don’t pay attention to them much anymore.”

Little does he know that God sent me a lesson in those words. Blessings surround me, and yet I don’t pay attention to them anymore. I expect they will always be there, and I don’t see the miracle in them being there at all. Our loved ones, our homes, food enough, our freedoms in this country, our senses, and so many other gifts enfold us. And what a wonder that God speaks daily to us in the miracle with which nature runs its course – the sun by day, the moon by night, all creation speaking faithfully to us.

God never fails to keep nature running like clockwork. The sun lightens our world day after day, even through the clouds. Imagine how cold it would be without its rays of warmth. The moon and stars shine in the darkness of the night. The laws of all creation continue day and night. We can always count on the changing of seasons guided by the never-failing love of God. Nature flows faithfully in all its beauty, each and every creature and created thing a nonstop sign that God watches over every little detail and is with us 24-7.

Just as God doesn’t abandon His creation, He never leaves us or pushes us aside. He is as likely to reject us as He is to abolish the laws of nature.

“I am as likely to reject my people Israel
as I am to abolish the laws of nature!”
This is what the Lord says:
“Just as the heavens cannot be measured
and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored,
so I will not consider casting them away
for the evil they have done.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
~ Jeremiah 31:36-37

We can find hope in the harmony of nature. God doesn’t abandon or reject it, but He delights in it and nurtures it. He has promised the same for us, but we need to stop our busy lives and look for it, feast our eyes upon it, and let its hope penetrate our hearts.

More Soul Rest Nature Photos from our Vacation

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21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Soul Rest in Nature: Hope Bursts Forth in Radiant Colors

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“What’s she doing? Who would want to take a picture of cattails anyway?”

“I would…” I said to myself.

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I love walking the trails of Outdoor Campus here in Sioux Falls where nature is kept as natural and unspoiled as possible. At the end of a trail, one must walk on the sidewalk of the entrance road into the park. Across the road are cattails. Last year I was walking a few feet behind three women. The one with the camera walked to the cattails to take pictures when one woman voiced her opinion.

DSC_0282 I guess everyone has a right to their own perspective of nature’s paintings. I admired the woman who was soaking up snapshots of everything she could of God’s canvas.

I have fond memories of cattails. I grew up on a farm, and I loved plucking the ripened, fluffy seeds from them and letting them float away with the wind to places nobody but God knows.

The truth is if we don’t venture across the road to see the cattails, we miss other hidden surprises. Behind those tall, stately, brown-suited plants is a pond. And sometimes there are even ducks on the pond.

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I never find anything mundane in nature. There always seems to be something new to surprise me, just like when I read the Bible. Something pops out that I didn’t notice after so many times of reading it. God’s Word and nature are so synchronized. Both resound with His voice.

When I went to the Outdoor Campus last week, I asked God, “Will You show me something new today?” As I walked there were so many various thrilling bird calls that I thought: Ah, hearing this is a beautiful surprise already that I never grow tired of. But then a cardinal flew in a few feet from me. He flew away before I could get a photo, but the rich red feathers, black mask around his eyes, and the distinguished red tuft are still etched in my memory bank. Thank You, God. Since then I have found out that the various calls I was hearing were all from cardinals. Did you know they have about two dozen different songs? Wow!

As I returned on the sidewalk I mentioned, I crossed the road to the cattails, and I found another surprise. Usually I see mallard ducks, but this time I saw what I think was a female wood duck.

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Nature remains one of my favorite soul-resting whitespaces.

God desires to show us
He is still with us.
If our eyes and ears
Are attuned to His voice,
We will be surprised
And even fascinated
By what He gives,
And hope will burst forth
In radiant colors.


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“We need to find God,
and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence.
See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…
We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
– Mother Teresa

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21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Whitespace Writing Prompt:
“Share a Whitespace Moment This Week”

A Soft Gentle Voice

Journey of Rest: It’s Time to Stop Running

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“Rest became a battle to run away from the things that break me
– instead of allowing the brokenness to bring me to Him.”
– Bonnie Gray

That’s me. Running away. Fighting against the remembering. Spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere but empty and exhausted. But I don’t want to live like this anymore. This numbness, this shutting off my feelings because it hurts too much. This putting on a strong front and saying, “I’m fine.” This letting the words and actions of others give me my identity. This robotic living controlled by what was or is expected of me.

As I write this, steady rain is falling straight down in a peaceful rhythm, replenishing, refreshing, brightening the dependent earth. As I sit and watch, I listen and let the sounds soothe my soul. I breathe in the freshly laundered air, begging God to fill me with the rain of His Holy Spirit. To breathe life into my soul. To break the shackles from my soul and set me free.

Please, Dear God,
May Your Holy Spirit flood my soul,
Wash away all my self-sufficiency,
All the lies about who I am,
Whatever keeps me from resting in You.

I don’t want to be strong anymore,
I want to relinquish all control,
The control I let people hold over me,
The control of wanting my own way,
Not trusting Your plan for my life.

I don’t want to run away anymore,
I want to embrace the vulnerability,
To find the real child in me
You created me to be,
To lean into You trusting and unafraid.

I want to open the doors of my heart,
To journey with You,
To layer by layer
Expose to Your healing rain
Those deep places of pain.

Please break away
These embedded shackles
That trap me –
This shame that poisons my perspective,
This fear that freezes my faith,
This unfounded guilt that eats me alive.

I want to be free, Lord,
To feel, to want, to need,
To allow myself to be loved,
To love myself as You desire,
To nurture my depleted soul,
To open my heart to the power of Your love.

justrestAre these the longings of your soul, too? Do you need rest? Then come on a journey with us to find it. Bonnie Gray’s new book – Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest – has come out this week and is packed with so many insights that I have to read it slowly, trying to process one revelation at a time. It is already changing my life. It has shaken up beliefs that have been instilled into me. This idea of doing God more service if I forget about me and concentrate on encouraging and nurturing others. This doing and not just being. I always feel selfish when I take time to nurture myself, not realizing God wants me to take care of myself – to nurture myself in His bottomless fountain of love and security. I’m beginning to understand why it’s not selfish, because it is only through accepting and nurturing myself as the precious beloved of Jesus who wants me to bare my entire vulnerability to Him for healing that I will be able to nurture others with reckless abandon with the same love Jesus gives.

True rest is not running away from all our vulnerability, brokenness, and hurting emotions. It is leaning into Jesus, allowing Him to love us fully and freely. To go to Him just as we are, not trying to be strong, but raw with all our pain, shame, and fear, not trying to minimize any of it. Baring our hearts to Him, letting Him cut away the cancer in our souls, and wash and restore us with His healing balm of grace and love. 

“But there comes a time
when it takes more faith
to fall apart with Jesus
than to stay strong enough
to stop it from happening.”
– Bonnie Gray

“Whitespace. It’s the space on a page left unmarked used to make art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest, to bring out all the beautiful colors and images. You and I are God’s artwork. We need space to rest, so we can live a beautiful story.

I’ve written this memoir-driven guidebook — with chapter by chapter journaling prompts and group discussions questions so you can:

~ move beyond surviving to find rejuvenating rest

~ uncover the you God made: explore what feeds your soul

~ discover practical ideas to create space in your heart and schedule to rest

~ understand how your personal story shapes how easy or hard it is to receive self-care and soul care.

~ be inspired with hope, peace and encouragement”

– Bonnie Gray

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Joining Up With


A Soft Gentle Voice