My dear friend recently invited me to a prayer group at his house and I can say that he and his mom quite honestly are two of the kindest, selfless people I have ever met. Going to this prayer group was honestly the best decision I have made in these upcoming weeks to college. His mom challenged us to take time every day to have a quiet time with God (a devotional and a prayer) which I have proceeded to do with the best of my abilities. I was going through my devotional for tonight, and I thought I would share it with you because it hit me right at home. My cousin gave me the Jesus Calling by Sarah Young book a few months back for my birthday. If any of y’all haven’t heard of it, it is a daily devotional and is written from the perspective as if Jesus was having a one on one conversation with you. It is pretty neat; I would highly recommend it.
If I were to give a title to today’s message I would call it “Nature as God’s Splendor.” This is just a little snippet…
“I created beauty to declare the existence of My holy Being. A magnificent rose, a hauntingly glorious sunset, oceanic splendor-all these things were meant to proclaim My Presence in the world. Most people rush past these without giving them a second thought.” -Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
Isaiah 6:3 also states “the whole earth is full of his glory.”
I live in the middle of West Plano. There is no such thing as “nature” here with the exception of an area of land called the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, which isn’t all that pretty and it doesn’t feel natural. It is difficult to be in awe of the God’s splendor when you are surrounded by pavement, newly planted/fake trees, technology, and suburbanism. The only “special” thing about Plano is the never ending list of places to eat. I’m pretty sure when I go out to do something, I’m either hanging with friends at their house or going out to eat. Nothing super special about that. You don’t see people traveling to Plano because its beautiful. People don’t even travel here for the food. It’s a good place to get a job, but it’s not a fun place to visit. It is pretty darn UGLY especially with all the construction underway at the current time.
People are ALWAYS in a hurry to get somewhere. There is no such thing as “hang-loose” in Plano. Someone is always in a bad mood while they are driving because they are late to work and they think that everyone should move out of their way so they can speed down the road at 20 over the speed limit. We get so caught up in the rush; we keep our windows closed, music blasting loud, and our sunglasses on (since none of us are friends and you find it awkward to make unnecessary eye contact with the people next to you because you KNOW they will be judging you for one reason or the other.) We tune out the rest of the world around us.
I remember one day (but i don’t remember where I was driving to), I was sitting at a stoplight with my windows closed and music blaring, and all of a sudden i just turned it ALL off. I didn’t want to listen to any music for a few minutes. I rolled my windows down, enjoyed the fresh breeze that was extremely satisfying on a hot summer day, and listened to the various sounds circling about me. I could hear the leaves in the trees toss in the wind, the roaring engines of cars, the screech of tires, pedestrians talking, and the cars zooming by on the highway in the distance. I just sat there in awe because I was missing out on so much. The sights weren’t beautiful but the sounds were.
With the introduction of so much technology, we often find ourselves disconnected from nature. I think i remember reading an essay on one of my SAT tests and the guy talked about the difference in the attention spans of people who rode on horse and carriage rides as compared to trains when they were first invented. Back in the olden days when horse and carriage were the only means of transportation, you traveled slow but your mind got to experience first hand all the sights, sounds, and smells around you. You were more engaged and so you were not prone to be as bored or tired during the trip. Once they invented high speed trains, you begin to zoom by everything so fast, that you no longer feel any connection to it whatsoever. I have probably driven by this road to my house over a thousand times over the course of my lifetime. There is a set of bushes and a couple of days ago i asked myself, “I wonder what those bushes feel/look like up close?” I have been by that spot THOUSANDS of times, but I couldn’t personally imagine what that plant would be like up close, because my mind has not firsthand experienced it. I have no perception of its size or anything, because it has only been a blur when i drive by it. Same with the dash-marks on the highways. I’ve always wondered how big they are in comparison to myself. They look small, but it’s only because we are driving by them at 70 mph; and I can’t exactly park my car and examine them up close, I would get run over by a car within the first few seconds. Just little things like that bother me… because i have no true perception of their existence… only what i see through the car window
So going in full circle (sorry if i lost you) I appreciate a place with nature more because I can experience every aspect of God’s splendor. I picked Ouachita Baptist University primarily because of the natural beauty of the campus. I want a change, I want to go somewhere unlike Plano, where I can have tall trees, see the stars in the natural sky without the glare of city lights, to not have a ton of traffic rushing around me every second. I know OBU is my home because I can feel His presence there more than I ever could in Plano.