My friend Allie Stoelting, a member of our church here at Fort Valley Methodist, recently snapped this picture of a Peach County, Georgia sunrise. Not a bad way to start your day out on the back porch, is it?
I love the fingers. It looks like someone's waving "hello" to the world. Someone, it appears, is reaching out and reminding us of His presence.
The Bible, especially in the Old Testament, speaks often of God being revealed through nature. Rumbling thunder, rolling seas, snowcapped mountains, birds, flowers, and baby lambs all reminded the ancients of God. They saw His handiwork everywhere they looked.
Sadly, too many today either take for granted a scene such as this, or they explain it away as simply natural meteorological phenomena. It is that, for sure, but there is an unseen but very real God behind all that we see. Theologians refer to this as "natural revelation," that is, God's nature being revealed through the Creation.
So, I wonder, why would God reveal Himself through the wonder of our world and universe? Is it simply that He is a show-off, that He wants to impress us with His power and might and majesty? That hardly seems in keeping with the nature of the God we read about in Scripture. Why, then, does He reveal Himself?
To put it simply, He wants to be known, not like one clamoring for attention, but as one who seeks relationship. Remember that in Genesis we see God creating humanity for a close, special, unique relationship with Himself. Our sin breaks that relationship, and the rest of the Bible is an unfolding story of God coming, as Jesus put it, "to seek and to save the lost." (Luke 19:10, ESV)
It blows my mind to imagine that the God of the universe wants, really wants, a relationship with people, even with me. Nature is often God's first wave to us. I saw it powerfully expressed the other night in a restaurant. A little girl, maybe three or four years old, was sitting in front of me. Another girl, about the same age, passed by her table on the way to the front door to leave with her parents.
These two were eye to eye with each other. Out of all the people in the restaurant, their eyes met, and they were united in their "kidness." They smiled broadly and waved, one child to another, connected in a world where they often see little more than kneecaps. Their waves communicated something powerful - "we could be friends, right?"
So, God reaches out. He whispers through a soft rain. He says "hello" through the trill of a songbird or the splendor of a spring spotted fawn trotting behind its mother. He wakes us up with a brilliant sunrise, waving His hand to us, just to remind us He wants to spend the day together. And He goes to a Cross to make it possible for us to spend eternity with Him as members of His family, as adopted sons and daughters.
Don't ever doubt that you are loved, nor that the Father wants a relationship with you. He's done the hard work. All we do is respond to His grace with repentance and trust. He calls out, inviting us to Himself through everything from a sunrise to the words of Scripture. All you have to do is look up, look around. Or, heed the words of I John 3:1 - "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"