You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything and the multitudes of heaven worship You.
– Nehemiah 9:16
Personally, I struggle with the concept that God is constantly ‘accessible’ whenever we need guidance. I believe I have experienced Him in life, but not always in a direct way that we are conscious of. There are some times, though, when I am so aware of the existence of a Living God who created us and who mercifully saved us from our own sins.
This weekend has proven to be one of those times where nature has shown the awesome power of God, and the forming of new friendships along with stimulating conversations have shown His amazing love and the light that He kindles in each one of us.
I had the privilege of spending a weekend camping with and getting to know some amazing people of God. What made it even more special was the fact that we were surrounded by one of the most beautiful parts of God’s creation. We spent a whole day on a beach that was surrounded by some wild cliffs and sand dunes covered with a blanket of grass and heather. In the morning of the Saturday, I woke up early and went down to the beach; an empty span of sand, a platform to cliffs that stood in a misty haze. It wasn’t ominous, just beautifully peaceful and a mere reflection of God’s power and majesty. To think that most days, such a sight would go unseen; left to the seagulls and the bugs. To think that as the pink turns into gold and yellow and pale green, the stars vanish to make way for another loud day – that tiny gap where night and day overlap is overlooked, comes and goes and then disappears, not even forgotten. A memory that was never even formed.
That same night, we made our way down to that same beach, lit a fire and sat around it, singing songs, creating something so beautiful as worship to our Lord whilst above us, the starry hosts performed their magic, their very own worship to a God who is so worthy. I walked up to the waves, and looked up into that vast forever, and was mind-blown by the power and knowledge with which it was all created. How something so big (unimaginably big!) with such strength that could kill us, could be created by Someone who is so gentle and merciful is just incredible! And as we had church on the cliff top the next day, it became evident to me that we don’t have a clue what we’re doing, never mind what God is doing in our lives. But His creation reveals His mercy, and that is beyond enough.
Worshiping God along with the rocks and the sea and the birds was an amazing experience that highlights who we are meant to be – the church isn’t a building, it’s us, and God is there with us whenever two or three come together in His name (Matthew 18:20). It’s our faith that binds us together to worship Him with our lives; it’s our faith that brings us closer to Him and reveals more than we can ever imagine. What an amazing thing that we can worship Him anywhere and with anyone who loves Him!
I cannot describe what it felt like to be surrounded by nature – surrounded by God, each of us has to experience that for themselves. And even if I didn’t experience something life changing, I know that God has touched my heart. I know that it does matter what we do, and it can make a difference where and with whom we spend our time.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
– Luke 19:37-40
Someone described the beach (the wild ones, with the wind and the sun and the rain and nature all around) as a spiritual place. Perhaps it is so special because it is where water meets the air and land. It’s where danger touches upon adventure and where wrath meets mercy. Where humanity meets God.
Jesus spent a lot of time on his own in the desert, seeking the Father and removing the everyday hustle and bustle with its distractions and temptations. What if this world was made to be explored? What if the places that we see, the relationships that we build are all part of seeking God and finding more treasures that belong to Him? There is so much to see, so much to learn, but more importantly, there are so many people who haven’t experienced God like this. People who have never heard of Jesus. We need to be out there, shining our light and living the Word. We need to breathe in and spend time gathering strength in places God has created to reveal His glory, and we need to breathe out and pass on what we know to be true. And while we are doing it, we may as well enjoy it!
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound and all that is in it.
– Psalm 96:11