August 11th, 2021 by Sara Buffington
Have you ever driven I-87 through New York? It’s called the Adirondack Northway, and, as highways go, its views are spectacular.
The summer after my junior year I worked as a nanny for a family with three children. I even traveled with them to their summer home in the Adirondacks. They drove with the older kids in the first car, and I drove behind them in their second car, with a sleeping preschooler in the back and a chocolate lab as my copilot.
I was nervous about caravaning to the Adirondacks. Would I lose them along the way? I purposely drove in silence (no music!) so I could concentrate.
As I drove along the Adirondack Northway, my thoughts were hardly quiet. Huge peaks rose on either side of the highway. Each curve in the road afforded a new, awe-inspiring vista. I found myself whispering, “Oh wow,” to no one in particular.
And then I found myself speaking to someone...when I realized he was speaking to me.
I was used to talking to God, but I had never listened to him in return. I wasn’t being rude or selfish. I just assumed he had nothing to say to me, aside from what he had already put in the Bible for all his people.
But that day, cruising down the Adirondack Northway, I felt my heart soaring with every mountain. It occurred to me that he made all this. The mountains were so huge, so towering, and yet even they were a created thing.
Their Maker must be even bigger, even stronger than they are.
I think my heart was expanding as I understood a bit more of his majesty.
God was teaching me through his mountains. He was showing me more about himself. He was leaving an impression deeper and more memorable than words ever could.
It was like he made those mountains just for me to notice at that moment. I know that sounds silly, but that is how personal it felt.
This Sunday we sang the old hymn, “This Is My Father’s World.” It has some beautiful lyrics. Listen to this:
This is my father's world
He shines in all that's fair
In the rustling grass, I hear him pass
He speaks to me everywhere.
God speaks through his Creation. What does he say? For sure, he tells us about himself. Check out this verse from Romans 1:20 (NLT):
Forever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.
He is speaking through his Creation, and he is waiting for you to listen.
Our God is a personal God. He has proved that. He came to earth as a person, lived as a person, died as a person, and he inhabits our person through his Holy Spirit.
It’s not a jump to think that he can use his Creation to speak personally to each one of us.
Let me give you an example. A friend of mine was feeling tired, wrung out, and directionless. She attended a weekend retreat on being renewed and transformed by God. The retreat had the symbol of a butterfly (that creature knows about undergoing a transformative experience!).
On the morning of the last day of the retreat, my friend woke up and went to her pantry. She opened the door to grab a box of cereal, and what happened? A butterfly flew out of her pantry! How did it get in there in the first place? She had no idea.
She opened the door to her kitchen and the butterfly flew outside. She knew in her heart that God had sent that butterfly to her as a personal message. He would renew her; he would transform her. He had heard her prayer.
The Bible contains story after story of God using his creation to tell us and show us more about himself and what he means. Some of that is nature coupled with a verbal explanation: Look at Noah and rainbow, Abraham and the stars, and Jesus’ example of the birds and the lilies.
But much of the way God communicates through nature is nonverbal. It goes straight to your heart: a sunset, a budding leaf, a shooting star.
God wired us to communicate nonverbally as well as verbally. We rely on visual cues to understand one another: a shrug, a furrowed brow, a smile, a hug...the list goes on. Sometimes words aren’t needed.
What if we opened our eyes to notice God’s nonverbal communication through nature? What if we went for a walk and prayerfully asked God to speak to us, and he showed us something special, noteworthy, or beautiful?
I think God is not silent. Yes, he uses words. The King James Version of the Bible has 783,137 words in it! But he also uses all of creation to reveal himself to us–not just grandly, but personally.
He wants you to know Him.
Do you have any examples of how God speaks through nature? Let me know below!
You May Also Like: