i love this part in the book Stuff Christians Like by Jon Acuff found on pages 124-125 called Seeing God In Nature.
Seeing God in nature is one of our favorite things to do. We love holding retreats in places like the mountains or the beach. Something about a panoramic view really drives home the point that "God is big. If he can handle how the ocean works, he can take care of my little problem." But a panoramic view is only half the battle. What we really like is when we can find a cross shape that has naturally formed somewhere on God's green earth. Two trees that have grown together, a formation of rocks that kind of looks like a wobbly cross, that clump of stars out in the dead of space that resembles a cross. We love finding reminders of God in nature.
I think that's great, except that the last time I went to the beach, on the roof deck of the house my family rented, I tried to force God to meet my schedule. I got up early, took my notebook and pen up there, held my breath as the sun came up, and........nothing. So I literally walked the entire deck to make sure I was not in the wrong God spot, as if maybe the God juice was flowing to the corner I wasn't standing in.
And when it didn't happen, I tried to help God out by priming the pump. "Wow, that water is endless. Maybe you want to tell me about your endless love? No, nothing there? How about all the shells that are scattered across the sand when the tide goes out? Maybe you want to talk about how the search for wisdom is a lot like searching for a perfect shell amongst a million broken ones? How's that sound? Nothing, hmmm. Let's think about the dunes or storms or something. Help me out, God; I'm doing all the work here."
I was at the beach so I expected a God performance, for him to speak something deep and beautiful into my heart. But he didn't. I didn't leave the beach that day with any new insights, even though I probably could have written a pretty amazing sequel to "Footprints in the Sand" called "Footprints 2: The Revenge".
have you ever done this, try to basically tell God how things are going to go down? i did this past monday. i took a day away from work, and headed to majestic indiana, a place called turkey run. almost immediately after taking off from my driveway, i felt God give me a little picture. from then on, the day went nothing like i had planned.
i had planned on doing a lot of reading and writing, and a little hiking since it was the winter, and trails were snow covered. well, i started off with what i thought would be a little hike. i had some questions that needed answers. the long and short, was that God told me he wasn't about to be interrogated by me, and i sheepishly apologized. from then, i spent 5 hours hiking with my papa. it was good; just nothing like what i had planned. but here's what i walked away from this experience with:
i didn't need answers. i just needed some time with my papa.
now, what i love about connecting with God in creation, is that most distractions have been removed. i don't think He speaks more or any louder when we are in nature, it's just that we have less to distract us. it's no secret, no special formula. just less distraction.