One fall about 12 years ago, when our girls were in elementary school, we went on a church-sponsored hayride. I remember the loud tractor engine, the prickly hay, the tug of the tractor on the trailer and kids laughing and talking back and forth. Soon we all got settled in and were laying back on the hay chatting with our friends having a great time. That particular night, the sky was cloudless and it was unusually dark. Since we were far away from the city lights everything seemed much darker than normal.
As the tractor began its journey and pulled us out from under a large set of trees, we were able to get a full view of the night sky. Because of the great conditions, the stars nearly popped out of their places with brilliance. I recall instantly saying “Oh my God!” Without missing a beat, the person next to me said, “Exactly“.
Now that I think back on this event, what seems most unusual was that my reaction was instantaneous….I didn’t really have to think…it was a completely honest, gut-level response….it just burst out of me.
Somehow the majesty of that glorious sight spoke to me and I responded. I was completely taken aback by the beauty, elegance and majesty of that night-time sky. I had witnessed something special in nature and felt something at that moment that brought about an instantaneous response.
Psalms 19 and Romans 1 talks about this phenomenon….about the glory of God shouting to every person on planet earth….the shout is in a silent language….a language of the heart. The shout can be faint at times, so as to require us to be quiet and listen. Ever just sit quietly and stare at a symmetry and coloration of a beautiful flower?
The glory of God can be seen in the heavens and also in the tiniest flower, bumble bee or blade of grass. The order and precision of the universe is simply overwhelming, if you will just relax and take it in honestly.
Psalm 19: 1-4 says this: 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.
The skies and created universe don’t just mumble a word or two….they pour forth speech. The Hebrew word for “pour” is shaphak which means “gush out, spill forth, sprawl out”. So, much for a shy God.
The word “declare” in Hebrew, caphar, means to inscribe, to mark, to record, reckon, scribe, shew forth, talk and tell. The impact of what we see in God’s created order puts a mark in our minds and hearts….it acts like a scribe and writes words on us.
So for you and me….and all the peoples from all corners of the world….I can tell you with great confidence that God’s fabulous creation are words from His lips to our hearts. Every person on earth who has seen a star at night or witnessed the beauty of a flower has, I believe, heard from God. Whether or not we respond and say yes or shrug it off as “whatever” is up to us.
I believe intently that God is a terrificly wonderful and loving God. He set his creation in motion to make Himself known. I can sleep good at night knowing that He is perfectly capable of speaking to anyone, in any village (no matter how remote), anywhere, anytime. While we are called to witness the love of God to others in this broken world and as we carry out that work that God calls us to, we can know that He has ways of talking to us that are mysterious and silent and other-worldly.
What has God shown you lately? What have you seen of Him? How have you responded?
Romans 1:18-23 (NIV)
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.