I went for a run in my favorite park a while back and all around me was life.
The trees were well on the way to their summer fullness. Wildflowers were blooming everywhere and the creek seemed to be whispering, “how great thou art”. I was surrounded by that which brought me to a faith in God; His very creation. Left to grow how they will, were trees; some were bending toward the sun competing with the towering oak and cotton wood trees for light. Underneath it all was a blanket of leaves and fallen branches. And beneath all of that was more life than I will ever know.
After running half of a mile down a steep hillside trail, I was struck with the realization that what goes down, must come back up. I stopped for a few minutes to rest and to listen. Then looking back up the hill that I had just come down, I realized that I was not going to climb that hill as quickly as I came down.
There were cyclists and skateboarders buzzing through the park, up and down the hills. I was tempted to ask if I could borrow a skateboard and pay a cyclist to pull me back up that hill. I was tempted. After entertaining the thought, I began to pick ‘em up and put ‘em down like a well-trained athlete, only slower and not as athletic. I was nearly to the end of my trek and knew that I would not be able to run up the steep hill. So I began to walk and I’m glad that I did. If I had hurried back up the hill, I would not have taken time to hear God speak through two women who offered encouragement to this beginning runner. I would not have stopped to notice the songbirds that were providing the background music or listened as the squirrels rustled through the tree branches above. I would have missed God’s voice speaking to me in the purest form; in nature, His beautiful creation.
When I finally reached the top of the trail, I headed to my car to get my guitar so that I could sit and relax a bit before returning home. There were no benches near the parking lot so I wandered a few feet into the woods to find a fallen tree. At first I listened only to the sounds around me; birds, squirrels and the occasional sound of a bicycle humming by on the trail in the distance. I began to play my guitar and the only words that I could think of were these:
“When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees…
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee;
How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art”
Nature to me, when unaltered by man, is God in the simplest yet most profound form. Nature’s voice is pure, nature’s voice is unafraid and uninhibited.