Listening to the Voice of Creation

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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.

Psalm 19:1-4

A thought occurred to me on my bike ride today. After rocking out to some classic Deep Purple for a while, I got to my turn-around point and wondered what I should listen to next. I thought about listening to a spiritual audiobook. Then I thought, why not just ride in silence and listen to creation preach the good news to me?!

I didn’t have to listen very long before I heard creation shouting. Here’s what it had to say…

Right away I saw a tree poking up out of the ground that had split into two trees right at the base. It made me think about cooperation, unity and sharing space and resources with another. I puzzled at what a rare thing that seems to be.

I then saw a Great Blue Heron standing completely still in the river. I was overwhelmed by what an impressive and massive beast it was. What occurred to me was that, as majestic, awesome, powerful, graceful and fierce this bird was, it still needed rely on its creator for its daily meal. It had to be out there, early in the morning, making a very careful, patient and concerted effort for its continual survival. There was no resting on its past victories. There were no breaks because of how awesome of a creature it is.

photo courtesy of Canva Pro

Next, I found another set of trees that was joined at the base. Perhaps this phenomenon isn’t quite as rare as I imagined. What was really striking about this particular growth was that there weren’t just two trees growing together, but three. It was almost as though it was a little family – Daddy tree, mama tree and baby tree.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

In addition to some deer just lying down by the river taking a rest, and all the different sounds of various birds, frogs and chipmunks, I saw humans. Humans were stopped in their tracks everywhere gazing in amazement (some, like me, taking photos) of the creation in front of their eyes. What an appropriate reaction, I thought. I also wondered if other animals are as amazed at creation as humans can be. I mean, do squirrels look at deer and think, “wow, that’s so cool!”? Do they get home to their squirrel families and talk about the wonders they saw down by the river that day?

There was also the new Spring growth juxtaposed against the old dead trees and leaves lying about. This made me think that we live in a continual cycle of revival, renewal, regeneration, redemption and restoration.

So, yes, creation did preach the good news to me today.

Interestingly I found that, immediately upon exiting the forest preserve trails, there was construction, machinery, traffic, pollution (of all sorts), industrial sites, fences, billboards, leaf blowers, malls, power lines, etc. This made me think that, though you can certainly find beauty in the smallest things surrounded by the worst conditions, it is often quite necessary to “get away” from all the distractions for a while, create space and surround yourself with an opportunity to go deeper.

Bible Promises for Grief and Loss

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Certainly no amount of Bible verses can take away the pain or grief of the loss of a loved one, and of course, that’s not the point of these promises. The point is to help reassure ourselves of God’s loving presence during the most difficult of times.

  1. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
  2. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
  3. “The Lord is my shepherd; … Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” – Psalm 23:1, 4
  4. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39
  5. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1
  6. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
  7. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
  8. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3
  9. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” – Psalm 34:17
  10. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
  11. “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
  12. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
  13. “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” – Psalm 9:9
  14. “But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1
  15. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
  16. “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.” – 2 Timothy 4:17
  17. “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11
  18. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalm 34:4
  19. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation 21:4
  20. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” – Psalm 56:8
  21. “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1
  22. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
  23. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
  24. “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love, he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17
  25. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Listen to all these verses read to you over the sounds of running creeks and images of beautiful nature…