I sometimes wonder if people who live in the countryside have a better appreciation for God’s creation than we city folk?
I’m specifically thinking of the ability to see the majesty of God’s handiwork as seen in the starry night sky.
Living in a big city (in my case, Toronto), I’m only able to see a handful of heavenly bodies. I can see the Big Dipper and a smattering of other stars, bright planets such as Venus, and the moon in its phases. But that’s about it.
Big cities produce so much ambient light that it obscures our view of the wonder of the night sky. That’s why many jurisdictions are creating what’s known as “dark sky preserves.” These are regions far enough away from the lights of built-up urban areas that the majority of stars can still be seen.
Governments commit to protecting these preserves from development so that the full range of the starry sky will always be visible from those areas. They seem to understand that it’s important for us to be able to maintain our connection with the night sky, and see it the way our ancestors did.
Perhaps we should take a page from their book, and create some “dark sky preserves” in our own lives.
I don’t mean areas from which to see the night sky, but spaces in our lives that remind us of God’s majesty and creative ingenuity as expressed in nature.
In big cities, most of what we encounter is man-made. The predominant things we see each day are buildings, vehicles, sidewalks and streets. We may glimpse a few trees or a flower bed as we walk or drive by, but for the most part our world is made of metal and concrete. Just as the city lights obscure the stars in the heavens, the city sights obscure nature here on earth.
To top it off, many of us spend most of our time indoors. We work in offices and then head directly home to sit for hours in front of a screen of some kind. Our disconnection from God’s beautiful creation is almost total.
But what if we got outside in nature more? Would we feel a greater connection to the beauty that God has bestowed on us through the natural world? Would we sense a greater connection to God Himself?
I suspect we would.
As a nature lover, I get outside as often as I can. I love to garden, take walks in parks, and spend time by Lake Ontario. I like to think I have a good appreciation for God’s creation.
But I realized how much I was actually missing on August 14, 2003. That was when a massive blackout hit much of northeastern North America.
Suddenly, the normally present city lights were extinguished, and the heavens were revealed in all their glory. I was flabbergasted at the vast number of stars that could be seen. They seemed so close I felt I could have reached out and touched them. I think I actually gasped when for the first time in my life I saw the Milky Way as it truly should be seen.
That night, I had a new appreciation for the exquisite splendour of God’s creation. It was humbling.
It made me realize how much we miss out on when we live in a way that’s disconnected from nature. As Mark Ballinger states on his blog, “Applying God’s Word”:
“When we neglect spending time in nature, we are neglecting very clear physical pictures of God’s spiritual power.”
So let’s try to get outside more! Carve out a time each week, or each day if you can, in which you reconnect with the awesome wonder of what God has made. If you’re unable to get outside much, at least put up some pictures in your home or office showing the beauty of nature.
Take in the magnificence of the blue sky, the clouds, the stars, the trees, the flowers, the birds and the animals. Remember that the same God who took such care in creating all of that created you, too, and He loves you!
Reconnecting with nature will remind us of God’s power, His majesty, the infinite variety of His creativity, His attention to detail, and the love He’s shown us by giving us this spectacular planet to live on!
“The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvellous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world.”(Psalm 19:1-3 TLB)
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.