Before March 2020, I found - like many - my life was moving at 100mph, juggling work life, home life and various other commitments, as well as visiting family and friends. At the time we were expecting our second baby in June, so I was already looking forward to a number of months off for Maternity Leave.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, and the combination of Maternity leave and the government rules to stay home meant the pace of life changed significantly, as for so many of us.
Whilst this pandemic has brought a tidal wave of hardship, this year has given us time to literally step outside and absorb the natural world that God created. Whether our hours have increased at work, or whether we have been furloughed, any 'down' time we have had has been limited- in the most part- to going for walks and socialising outside in the open air. In my case, being outside means I am usually covered two thirds in mud due to a rather boisterous toddler who loves nothing more than lying on his tummy in a large muddy puddle ...before requesting he be carried home!
As we look around at the wonderful details we find in nature, and the complex design in each element, it is only fitting we look to discover who indeed is its designer! The bible clearly explains to us how these things came to be and who indeed created them, and us.
Genesis 1v1 tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth"
The verses that follow detail the creation of the world, day by day, in the perfect order to create balance in the world He was creating. First He created light; then separation of waters to form seas and skies; vegetation and plants; sun, moon and stars; sea creatures, land animals and finally mankind to rule over them. He made the world sustainable by creating perfect balance of seasons, water cycles, flowers that grow up yielding seeds of their own to produce more flowers after them, life cycles of animals and humans in order to reproduce to fill the earth.
Gen 1v31 tells us that on the sixth day, “God saw everything that He had made and it was very good”
You don’t have to look far to find beauty in the natural world around us. Trees, grass and flowers, seasons, life cycles, or in our son’s case... mud. It naturally brings us joy and relaxation to see the simplicity and consistency of nature. We notice that in a world where inventions and technology are ever advancing and changing, the natural world around us remains the same. There is no need to spend time making a tree to produce more oxygen, or 'better' wood, etc., because God made it all perfectly. We know the process of growing food these days has been sped up for mass production to keep up with demand from supermarkets... however, a carrot is still a carrot and a potato is still a potato! God created each element perfectly.
1 Timothy 4v4 tells us that 'Everything created by God is good'
We know that being outdoors is good for our all round health. Whether it is physical strength and fitness, mental health and stress relief, or boosting our immune systems; getting outside can make us feel great, especially in the summer months when the sun is beating down on our skin and everything feels a little less rushed. It is hardly suprising that nature has such a profound effect on us, when we read that God created us too.
Gen 1v27-28 describes how 'God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created Him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth..."
So maybe in this time of uncertainty, we can learn more about our Creator and His plan and purpose for the world He created so perfectly. The Bible talks about a time when the earth will be filled with God's glory (Numbers 14v21) and our environment will again be as unspoilt as when it all began back in the Garden of Eden.
Ecclesiastes 12 v 1 tells us to remember our Creator while we are still able, so whatever we have going on in our lives, let us take the time to step outside, or look up to the sky, or just simply out of a window to fix our eyes on something natural to remind us to slow down and trust in God who made all things.