A couple days ago, I took time out of my longest work day to walk around the lake. One of my goals for this quarter is to faithfully exercise at least 4 days a week, so I typically take this walk with a friend during the week. This time, I found myself walking alone, so I came armed with my iPod. Music keeps me motivated to keep going (and not pay attention to how tired I get), but it seemed strange to walk and listen to music that day. Instead, I decided to take in my surroundings.
Spending time contemplating God in nature refreshes me and teaches me a great deal. As I walked, I prayed that God would show me himself in His creation. Normally, when I practice contemplating God in nature, I wait until I see something that really strikes me and sit with it for some time. I didn’t have that experience this time. I found my attention drawn to many things: the interesting ducks and other wildlife, the way the lake had risen from the recent rain, the sunlight shimmering on the water. Mostly, I noticed the people around me. I found myself praising God several times throughout my walk because I could see His handiwork all over. There are so many things that are truly marvelous!
The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
When I was going through the Dark Night of the Soul, so much of the world seemed dark and lifeless. Life was going on around me, but I didn’t have eyes to see it. Creation continued to tell of God’s glory and power, but I was deaf. Coming out of that period has been more like a sunrise than and light switch. I couldn’t see God’s work at all at first. Then I started to notice dim traces of him. As the light continued to grow, I see him more and more frequently. I find myself noticing the goodness of simple things, like the smell of cut grass or the taste of bacon. I’ve enjoyed things before, but I often wonder, “Did I really experience them as they pointed to the Creator?”
It’s strange to be thankful for periods of darkness, but I am. I think that period was training me to see God in ways I never had. It was training me to be hopeful for what I couldn’t see, to be thankful for even the faintest traces of his work when I could see. My prayer is that he’d continue to reveal himself, in order that my heart would grow ever fonder of him. May my affections be captivated only by our amazing, wonderful Creator.
“At last I see the light
It’s like the fog has lifted
At last I see the light
It’s like the sky is new
And it’s warm and real and bright
The world has somehow shifted
All at once everything looks different
Now that I see You.”
“I See the Light”