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Nature Sings: A New Season

Saylor and Mimi under the Rhino tree

Ever so slowly over the past decade God has been opening my eyes and touching my soul in ways I had not expected. For the past 40 years I’ve written books and blogs and spoken throughout the country on topics of parenting, marriage, and faith. These areas have been my primary focus. I still love to speak and write on these themes. 

Yet more recently our heavenly Father has been awakening within my heart a deep desire to dwell in nature, to really look at His creation, to observe His beauty, to marvel at the things I learn about His creation from twisted roots, fragile flowers, craggy rocks, singing birds, crawly creatures and unusual quiet. Silence. We live in a noisy world, but we were also created for silence. I think of Jesus slipping away in the night to be alone in the hills enjoying the company of His heavenly Father in quiet. Oh, the sweet fragrance of simply being alone together.

At least once a year we all sing “Joy to the World,” the beautiful Christmas hymn with the familiar refrain, “Let heaven and nature sing.” One winter day on a walk in the woods this hymn came to my mind. I began to think about these words as I looked around a snowy, bare path. Because the birds had flown south there was more silence than in the spring. Focusing on the quiet, I asked God to enable me to hear his voice. There wasn’t a lot to hear but as I concentrated, I heard bare branches squeaking as they rubbed against each other. Wind gusts magnified sounds of creaking and worn-out limbs fell to the ground, bumping against bare rocks with a resounding thud.  

Nature sings. In the bleak mid-winter, the song may be soft, quiet. Yet in the quiet is a message. A call for us to take time to be still, to tune out the noise of the world. News feeds, podcasts, talking heads, cell phones, the internet. It’s difficult to escape the demands of living in this world. 

Sometimes it feels as if our days are marked by hurry. In the hurrying there are people who need us, things we must accomplish. Throughout our home or office there are constant reminders of things we should do. It can be hard to hear His quiet revelations, His personal messages for us in our normal daily chaos. 

Author, Susan Yates, hiking with Charley Dog on the Appalachian Trail. Image Courtesy of Susan Yates. 

This is one reason we need nature. Nature can clear away distractions and make it easier to focus on our Creator. As the psalmist says, “Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46:10

 The past couple of years have been difficult in many ways. It may have felt like a very long winter in your life. David puts it this way,

 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him” (Psalm, 40:1-3).

What if we began to see tomorrow as the beginning of a new season, one in which we’ll make regular time for a walk in his woods or along a path in the park. A time in which we will focus on the silence. Choosing to be attentive to His songs of creation whether they be loud or soft. What if each of us asked Him to put a new song in our mouths and in our hearts? 

As Jeremiah says of our almighty God: “Call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things that you do not know.”

Jeremiah 33:3

Bringing it home

God, please put a new song in my heart. I want to see- to really see-things I have missed in the overwhelming “hurry up” of my days. I want to make time regularly to be alone in nature. Make me more aware of what you are singing throughout your creation. Reveal to me things that I have missed. Grant me a bigger vision of how Great Thou Art.

 I want to teach my grandchildren to take time to observe and to notice God’s creation. 

Do you? Together this year, let’s ask God to reveal Himself to us through his creation in NEW ways. And to show us how to share this joy with the next generations.   

Sharing with the next generations

I took 4 of my grandchildren for a walk on the Appalachian Trail. Along the trail I announced that we were all going to be silent for about 4 minutes and really notice God’s creation. We were to look all around us-including up and down. It’s too easy to simply look at our feet when walking. Each of us was to pick out something that we saw which was meaningful to us and revealed to us a characteristic of God.  At the end of our silent looking, we showed one another our discoveries. My grandson Tobin noticed the artistic nature of God and His humor as he pointed out to us the “Rhino’s head” strutting out from a large tree! We all giggled as we contemplated the fun God must have had in designing this surprise and how delighted He must be that we noticed it!

God delights in revealing His simple joys!

Read more from Author and speaker Susan Alexander Yates in Nature Sings: Nature Reveals and the five part series Finding God in the Wilderness. Additionally, Susan shares encouragements for all seasons of life on her website

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