By Eric Nelson
At creation, God placed Adam and Eve in a perfect environment, the Garden of Eden. “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15). God created the ideal setting full of wonders to experience and by which to be inspired. The lush garden setting must have been an amazing and gratifying experience. On every hand were reminders of their Creator God and His character. He made all this for them to enjoy and to provide them with inspiration.
Adam and Eve must have felt awe and amazement, wonder and appreciation for this incredible environment that God created just for their pleasure and enjoyment.
We, as Adventist Christians, of all people, should be able to resonate with Adam and Eve since we live here in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. People come from all over the world to see this area, to enjoy our mountains and incredible scenery. They come to camp, hike, climb, jeep, or to simply drive through the scenic byways and wonder at the beauty. Many visit to enjoy our national parks and wildlife. There’s something special here that beckons us to enjoy this rich experience, where we have the privilege to live and work. We are so very blessed to live here amid the vistas that can draw us even closer to God through the reminders of His creation in the beauty He has placed at our doorstep. We can join David in rejoicing, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1). Or we can reflect with great understanding on his words in Psalm 121:1-2: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” How can we not get up in the morning and view the beauty we live in without being drawn closer to God?
I believe God placed within each of us a hunger for the enjoyment of His second book, nature. There is something healing and restoring about it. Little wonder that there is such an attraction to nature ingrained in our souls. We are nourished and calmed as we experience the natural world around us. Ellen White wrote, “‘God is love’ is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green— all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy” (Steps to Christ, p. 10).
Into this description of the beauty of our surroundings, let me introduce a disturbing reality. What is your reaction when you see someone tossing trash out of their car window? Or what impression do you have when you hike to a unique and special location and see that overlook littered with water bottles, cans, and trash? The words of Revelation 11:18 come to mind: “The time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.” Of course, we are to care and look after the wonderful gift that God has given us in creating this world. We ought to be disturbed to see this precious possession abused and mistreated.
We must care and tend this resource and be disturbed when this wonderful creation is trashed and destroyed. But there is a trap that I sometimes find myself slipping into, and to which, perhaps, you are also susceptible. At times I am so busy and focused on work, thoughts, activities, drivers, hurrying to do something, that I don’t even see the beautiful foothills, snow caped peaks or the wonders of God’s creation around me. To ignore this incredible gift is to ignore nature’s way of reminding us of the Creator Himself. Let us not become so busy or allow our senses to become so dulled that we cannot appreciate and see God’s witness to us through His creation.
It is important for us to be blessed and impressed by God through nature. Today, take time to look for His signature and message to you from His incredible gift.
–Eric Nelson is RMC VP for administration. Email him at: [email protected]