I met up with a friend from college recently and we decided to spend the afternoon at a lake. We enjoyed dipping our toes into the cold water. Walking barefoot on the rocky sand. Feeling the sun on our faces. Sitting on a large rock and admiring the beauty of the lake and the wildlife we saw. Chatting and connecting with each other, and also just sitting comfortably in silence, in our own thoughts, our own time with God. We felt a peace we haven’t in a while in our busy lives. We were able to take deep breaths and just be still in the beauty and the peace of the lake.
I started to think about what it is about nature that we are so very drawn to. People love going to the mountains, the beach, lakes, hiking, etc. We find it peaceful. Rejuvenating. Majestic. Awe-inspiring. Powerful.
And I realized that we are drawn to nature for two important reasons:
Nature reflects God’s glory and various aspects of His character
Nature is a concrete way to grasp the abstract qualities of God.
“For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
Every person is drawn to various aspects of nature because it is how we can grasp the power and love and character of God.
When you look up at a clear night sky and see an endless array of shining stars, you see His greatness.
When you watch a thunderstorm roll in, or a roaring river, or a cascading waterfall, or ocean waves crashing ashore during a storm, you see His power.
When you go to the ocean and listen to the gentle and rhythmic waves, and feel the warm sun and dig your toes into the sand you feel His peace and comfort.
When you watch new flowers bud and bloom after a long winter it fills you with hope and you experience His plan and purpose for every season.
Nature provides for us what we really need
Not only is being in nature a way to grasp God’s character, but it is a way we see how God cares for us.
“Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell. Research done in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.” From How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?
- It provides healing for our bodies.
- It can help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression (making nature a wonderful vacation spot).
- It provides us with healthy foods, herbs, and natural remedies for some of our sicknesses.
- It is a beautiful place to get some exercise.
- It provides us with fresh water and fresh air.
- It is a healthy place to connect with friends and family.
- It is a place to be quiet and connect with God.
And on and on it goes. God meets some of our greatest needs (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) in nature.
I encourage you to spend some time in nature. Take a few photos, but then put those phones and cameras away and take a few deep breaths and just soak in what it shows you about God’s character. Just be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10) in His creation. See what He is offering you in His creation.
What is your favorite way to experience nature? And what does nature show you about God’s character? What does nature provide you?