From The Heart of Dr. Rexella Van Impe
I think sometimes we fail to appreciate this beautiful change of seasons. The wonder of God's creation becomes commonplace and we take it for granted. How long has it been since you really stopped and took time to look and listen to everything around you?
Several years ago, my husband, Jack, and I were on an airliner flying home from California. For weeks we'd been extremely busy working on our television programs and completing the TV studio and production center in our World Outreach Center. I'd planned to use the time on the plane to catch up on some of my reading.
My Father's worldAfter a while, I glanced out the window-and the beautiful panorama I saw nearly took my breath away. It happened to be an unusually clear day, and as I looked down, I could see the Grand Canyon. It was spectacular! I stopped what I was doing and just drank in the grandeur unfolding below me.
In a little while, the plane was soaring over the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Oh, what a magnificent sight! I started smiling-I even laughed out loud! I thought, My Father created all of this-and more! I'm only seeing one small part of one little planet in God's great cosmos. And my heart was thrilled.
It occurred to me that this was the first time in a long while-perhaps months-that I'd stopped and really looked at my Father's world. I was only sorry that I couldn't hear the glorious sounds of nature below me instead of the steady roar of the jet engines.
But that experience on the plane was a good reminder for me. Since then I've been making an effort to go outside and Stop! Look! and Listen! every day. And what a refreshing, rejuvenating, healing experience it is for me!
Wonders all around usWhen Jack and I go for a walk or take a break out in our backyard, we make it a point to look and listen to the wonders around us. There are some rabbits that visit us, and some chipmunks that live in a hole under one of our large trees. They are so active-so happy and full of life. It's a Joy to watch them.
Sometimes it even seems to me that all of God's creation around me is rejoicing. Not long ago, I saw a mother robin building her nest. She was gathering tiny pieces of grass, twigs, and string and weaving them all together. She worked so diligently, chirping happily all the while. I found myself caught up in that beautiful creature's joy.
But recently I've detected something else, too. At times I can almost hear the voices of nature saying, "Release us from the pollution that is surrounding us right now. Restore us, Creator, come back to us!" The Apostle Paul declared,
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (Romans 8:22).
It's heartbreaking to see what man is doing to the environment-our cities are filled with smog, litter, and trash. And even in the wilderness remaining, man's callous carelessness causes disasters like the terrible oil spill in Alaska.
God created nature perfect. It wants to be perfect again. He created a world where the animals, birds, and sea otters were safe. They want to be safe again.
Despite the best efforts of scientists and environmentalists to clean up pollution like the oil spill, the bulk of the restoration will have to be left to nature. And in time, nature will cleanse itself-perhaps nearly as pure and perfect as before.
In addition to what we're doing to our natural world, it seems to me there's a lot of pollution in our lives-the sights and sounds around us...the visual pollution of pornographic publications and TV programs, the commotion and clamor that fill our daily activities.
Surely we need to get away from all that and let our minds be washed and rejuvenated from Satan's assault on our senses. We need to focus our attention on the good things of God. It's time to tune in to "whatsoever things" are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (see Philippians 4:8).
Get closer to God's creation and it will direct you back to God.
There's something about getting out among the sights and sounds of nature that helps clear away our concerns and confusion and puts things back into perspective. No wonder God spoke through the psalmist and said, Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).
"Slow me down. Lord"I can identify with the plaintive prayer of the poet who cried, "Slow me down, Lord, I'm goin' too fast!" How often we jam our lives so full of projects and duties that we grow weary and disheartened. We lose our enthusiasm and zest for living. Each day becomes an endurance contest, which we survive only to collapse in bed for a few hours, then get up to start the rat race all over again.
We may even be convinced that what we're doing is important-we can even be in the midst of serving God, doing His work. But if our good works cause us to lose personal contact with Him-if we don't take time, individually, to communicate with Him-we're missing it.
Has this ever happened to you?
Then it's time to STOP! Make time in your day to look and listen to God's handiwork around you. Take time to let God speak to you through the wonders of His creation. Don't forget that Jesus himself often took time to go away from the multitudes. He would walk out along the seashore or go up onto a mountain to pray and commune with God. And I'm just sure He took time to look and listen to what was around Him!
If Jesus needed to spend time alone in God's presence, how much more you and I need to do so. Yet, how easy it is to put off our Bible study and cut back on our prayer time until it becomes an empty ritual-or we lose daily contact with the Lord altogether. God has provided everything we need to fulfill and enrich our lives...and if we're not careful, we can rush right past it all every day.
Summer is vacation season for many people-perhaps you're planning some time away. Don't make the mistake of scheduling your vacation so full of travel and activities that you come back home needing to rest from your rest! Take time to relax-be still for a while. Stop! Look! Listen!...and let God recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your mind and spirit.
Hear and obey the words of our Lord in Mark 6:31: And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.
But don't wait until your vacation to get started. Right now is a good time to re-open the lines of communication with God. Take time every day to enjoy the beautiful things the Lord has placed all around you. Read the Word. Talk to God. Listen for His voice.
I promise you-when you Stop! Look! and Listen! you will see God as you've never seen Him before. You will hear the voice of the precious Holy Spirit within you who speaks so tenderly and gives such strength! It will change your whole world and make your life a rich and glorious experience again.
STOP, LOOK, LISTEN