LESSONS FROM CREATION
A kind of diary extract of few things I learnt on holiday recently when I took some time to reflect. I find that as I contemplate creation, the worries that invade my thinking pale into insignificance.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world
Have you ever looked at a twig? Really looked at a twig?
Have you ever noticed and studied the twig and considered the heart and mind behind it?
I’m on holiday, it’s early morning and I have woken up feeling anxious - a feeling I cannot shake. I sit outside our tent, here in the French Alps in the morning sun. The river rushing below, birds singing, surrounded by forest pine trees. I am asking God: “Help me to hear you more, to know you more". Then I have nothing. Nothing to ‘pray’. I feel unsettled.
Then my eye is drawn to the pine tree in front of me.
When I don’t know what to say to God or I feel disturbed I often get out my sketch book. I
think I don’t do this often enough because it feels indulgent and there are SO many other things I could be doing instead.
My attention turns towards the twigs on the pine tree and my mind wanders - I love the randomness. If you ask me to draw a tree I might draw a simple symbol, like a 'cloud on a stick' type tree. Or if I try a bit harder I might draw what I know about trees - more details. But now in this moment I begin to study the tree as it really is in front of me… then looking intently. In this process I am filled with a sense of awe at the heart and mind of the Creator.
There are so many things I could be doing ... but God is starting to get through to me. There is something He wants me to see and understand. Now I feel a nudge to get out my sketchbook and pen. “ Is that you God?"
When I respond to a faint sense of a word, or an image that God has prompted, I am swept up in an adventure with Him. This leads me in the opposite direction I would have gone in if I had followed a negative thought in my mind, which would have led to worry and anxiety.
I know I’m heading in the right direction.
I am drawing slowly, hardly looking at my paper, observing each bit and recording what I see. God’s creation is amazing! Once my art teacher looked at my sketches and told me to go back, look and really see…"You’ll be surprised,” he said. This is true and a delightful discovery! Our assumptions are often wrong, we don’t know everything!
I marvel at the way the twig attaches to the tree - I am thinking “Wow God, you made all of creation yet put so much thought into a single twig!” Then I notice a broken branch hanging in suspense by a thread - I love the fact that the broken branch tells a story of what has gone on before and also speaks to me of the beauty of imperfection. My instinct would be to ‘fix’ or correct that broken branch, but God, who is perfect, is able to leave His creation, including that branch, in a state of imperfection for a time.
God is OK with us being not being perfect. He allows branches to get broken, He lets weeds grow with plants and He allows us the space to just be who we are in the moment, with all our imperfections. He knows the plans He has for us, He knows the beginning from the end. He is not afraid of our mess and loose ends. When we spend time in God’s presence we find His peace and acceptance.