Thursday, April 26, 2012

Forces of nature (All creatures of our God and King!)

Less than two months ago, in mid-March, I strongly doubted the survival of some trees and bushes at the edge of a lake in a park where I enjoy walking in Norman. While green leaves and buds emerged on other trees along the bank, a few remained starkly bare and brown.

But I guess I did have a little faith they might make it, because I took pictures, just in case I wanted to compare later.

Sure enough, after some passage of time, on subsequent walks along the path I began to notice signs of life on the plants that seemed dead. I couldn't resist taking more pictures, even as I still harbored doubts these sprigs of green would endure a sunny day. (The biblical parable of the sower came to mind.)

But today, my first time there in more than I week, I could not deny or fail to be inspired by the force of nature. Every plant boasted greenery, some amid hopelessly dead branches, as if in defiance to last summer's harsh drought. I don't know whether these trees and bushes can survive another hot, dry summer, but I marveled at their persistence.

And I thought of other strong forces of nature revealed in April.

-- Holy week and Easter.

-- Murrah Building bombing remembrances, 17 years later.

-- Families that continue to find joy in living and gathering, even as they feel the recent and longterm loss of loved ones.

-- Tornadoes and other bad weather, whether deadly or just destructive.

-- Lots of people involved with American Cancer Society Relay for Life events and other groups determined not to let diseases continue to wreck lives.

As my walk neared its end, more forces of nature rang loud and clear. All along my walk, I saw birds, squirrels, bugs, tufts of white fluff, green grass and trees, colorful flowers. I heard birds, dogs, running water, quacking ducks, playing children, wind rustling trees and shrubs. I felt the warm sun, the cool breeze. I smelled a fresh smorgasbord of flowers, grass, trees, water. (It's amazing to realize there was nothing foul among the scents today.)

Scripture describes how nature praises its creator. Nature's example inspires me to also praise God for all of His wonderful works.

Shortly after my walk, I saw that this passage of Scripture was included in two of my devotional readings for today:

"We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Hope springs eternal, in April and always. Great is God's faithfulness. I will join creation in praising Him.

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