Finding the Meaning of Our Relationship with God in Nature
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Morning walks with my Newfoundland dogs are an experience of vibrant autumn colors so stark that they stand against one another, sharp delineated lines that can only be found in nature as she heralds her last glory before the dormancy of winter. Against a cloudless cerulean sky, Quandry peak cuts the sky with sharp-edged steel colored rock among the first blankets of winter snow, sinking into pine green forests and golden Aspens, as my eye travels down the mountain’s flank to the dirt road where I stand.
Last spring, when I had pneumonia, one of the ‘little books’ I read was “The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air” by nineteenth century theologian and philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. He wrote a fifty-one-page treatise on ten verses from the sixth chapter of Matthew, a simple and beautiful parable told by Jesus using common symbols from nature to demonstrate God’s love for us. These verses seem apropos of not only the glory of autumn that greets me each morning, but also where I am lacking in my walk of faith.
How do we trust in God’s provision? The scripture responds: “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “
What does it mean to seek first God’s kingdom? My natural response is to create a list of activities to demonstrate my eagerness to please God, as if I could use this as currency to beg for His help with my needs. Counterintuitively, Kierkegaard instructs us that first we must stop. Stop striving and become silent. Our silence and inaction enable us to turn our complete attention to God, and thereby seek God’s perfect plan before we begin constructing our own.
Only when our hearts and minds quiet enough to hear God’s thoughts, is God truly our priority. Our readiness to stop and listen for God’s instruction, is our strength. In wordless surrender, we finally acknowledge that God is our Source for everything we need, he knows our needs, and He will provide perfectly.
When I go out for a morning walk with my dogs and my mind is filled with worry and plans of what I must accomplish today, I miss the colors of nature. I miss the birdsong. And most certainly, I miss the ‘still, small voice of God’. Only when I quiet my mind can I be present to experience the beauty of my surroundings, to acknowledge that in this moment all is well, and in the silence, I can experience God’s assurance. As we pursue silent communion with God in the midst our worries, we demonstrate our trust in God’s goodness.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson is the author of “A Map of Heaven.” She lives in Breckenridge. Join her at www.Facebook.com/suzanneelizabeths