The trees glisten with remnants of newly fallen snow. The air is crisp and clear. As I set out for my daily walk, all is still. My pristine setting is a treasure. There is beauty everywhere I turn. It is restorative to walk amidst the tall spruce and stately birch trees.
As I move about I see signs of life. A squirrel has found remnants of last year’s chokecherries and is rattling the bush to gain more. A chickadee sings its happy song as another one answers. The farther I walk the more I see tracks of moose, deer, and rabbits. I stir up a prairie chicken as I walk beside its haven in the trees. This area is teeming with life, all sustained by our loving Heavenly Father.
Seeing all these signs of God’s wondrous creation reminds me of His hand in my life. As I see how He cares for and creates the beauty all around me, I am in awe of His wondrous majesty. In my daily outdoor excursions, praise readily comes to mind to my Heavenly Father than when I am in most places. Outdoors is an easy place to commune with God. Talking to Him seems so much easier out in His marvelous creation.
Numerous articles I have read recently speak of time spent in nature to be a true stress reliever. Being outdoors among trees and plants aids both our physical and emotional sides of life. The University of Minnesota website states the following:
“Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.”
God has designed us to have ways to alleviate stress that are on hand for everyone. Whether we have a potted plant in the room or take a hike in the mountains, we have ready access to a means to feel better and lift our spirits.
My elderly mother is housebound these days. What does she find restorative? Looking out her window and seeing the many miracles of nature presented. She watches the young duck family grow and the trees ebb and flow with the seasons. She chuckles as she watches the antics of the birds and squirrels. She feels less alone knowing that God is there taking care of both her and His creatures.
In the book of Isaiah, nature is used as an example of God’s hand in the world around us:
“I, the Lord God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, they myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (verses 17b-20 NIV)
This Scripture brings us so much hope. The same God who can change parched ground into a lush and fruitful area, can do the same for us. No matter what deserts we are experiencing in life right now, whether big or small, with God’s help they can be turned into flourishing gardens. When days grow long and hope at times seems to go sideways, we can take solace in our loving Heavenly Father.
As spring approaches and the outdoors becomes more appealing I encourage you to relish in God’s wonderful creation. As you look at the wonders He has put together, remember that, just as He cares even for tiny sparrows, He cares for you. You are never beyond God’s reach – never!