Posted on Sunday, Jun 06, 2021 by Scott Savage
Have you ever felt God’s presence in nature?
There’s something about being in God’s creation that leads us to feel more connected to our Creator.
Last summer, I was paddle boarding solo for the first time, and I fell into the water. After falling into the water, I fell into an encounter with God. While I didn't hear an audible voice, I sensed God speaking in a powerful way. The fall from my paddleboard became the metaphor God used to reveal some profound truths I needed to hear.
Those truths were later affirmed in my time in Scripture and over a long session with my therapist. As I dragged my paddleboard out of the lake and changed into dry clothes, I was so grateful that I got outside and reconnected with God in nature.
The Scriptures are full of descriptions of encounters like mine.
In Exodus 3, Moses had a world-altering encounter with God in the desert next to a burning bush. In 1 Kings 19, God appeared to Elijah on the top of a mountain. In Acts 9, Saul met Jesus in the middle of an outdoor walk. In Luke 5, we learn “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”
This pattern presents us with a powerful reminder. God doesn’t only meet us in “holy places,” but anywhere and everywhere we stand within His creation. In his famous sermon in Athens, the Apostle Paul preached, “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples.” Not only does God dwell in the fullness of His creation, but He also reveals Himself through creation.
In Psalm 19, David declares, “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.”
If God is available to us, to meet with us, in creation, then why do we so often miss Him?
For many of us, the problem is an issue of speed and noise. We live at such a rapid pace and a deafening level that we are unable to hear God speaking. Even though the last year has changed many dynamics in life, multiple studies have revealed that we're on our phones more and watching more TV and movies; we're not slowing down, and we're certainly not widely embracing solitude and silence.
However, until we slow down and allow quiet to fall, we may step into nature, but we may not reconnect with our Creator there. I love what Carlos Whittaker wrote in his book, Enter Wild, about this dynamic. “When we lower the volume of life, the volume of God goes up.”
We all want God's volume to go up, and we can take action to turn down the competing noise in order to reconnect with our Creator.
If you’re making plans to get in nature this summer, or if you want to reconnect with God in a meaningful way, here are a few ideas.
1. Identify an area that has been life-giving in the past and return to it.
2. Minimize distractions. Turn your phone off and choose non-digital options.
3. Determine if you need solitude or community most right now.
4. Bring something to prompt your conversation with God. A book, your Bible, a journal, notes from a recent sermon or podcast you found meaningful.
5. Ask a Jesus-following friend to pray for your time away.
6. Expect spiritual resistance. After all, our enemy doesn’t want us to deepen our intimacy with God.
I found myself nodding recently as I listened to Dante Bowe’s song, “Joyful.” In particular, I resonated with the verse where he sings,
“Said I woke up to the summer shining through
Calling all my friends, asking what's the mood
Feeling a little different, I'm on something new”
RELATED CONTENT: “Joyful” by Dante Bowe
This summer, as you seek to reconnect with Your Creator in the midst of His creation, here’s my prayer for you.
May you leave aside your comforts and concerns
In order to move towards the One who matters most.
May you lower the volume of your life
In order to feel the full volume of God’s voice.
May you let go of the sources of security and relievers of anxiety
In order to rest in the grip of the One who holds the whole world in His hands.
May you be made new in the love of the One who made you and calls you His
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Scott Savage is a pastor and a writer with the coolest last name ever. He leads Cornerstone Church in Prescott, Arizona. Scott is married to Dani, and they are the parents of three "little savages." He helps hurting people forgive others through his Free to Forgive course, and you can read more of his writing at scottsavagelive.com