(Here’s the link to last week’s post about this topic.)
To listen to creation, we have to quiet ourselves. As Larry King says, “I never learned anything while I was talking.” During my camping trip in the Catskills with the Boy Scouts, I discovered how silence allows for the life around us to emerge.
When we’re still, we can hear a quiet creation. But what does it want to tell us? What can we learn from its silent voice?
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” – Proverbs 6:6-8
We pore over books about motivation, productivity, goals, and plans, but ants can reveal many of the same insights. For free! Watching them work inspires diligence and determination. It’s humbling to admit that insignificant creatures can serve as role models.
Nothing is too mundane for the Lord to use for our education.
“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? 10In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” – Job 12:7-10
Quiet creation teaches us that God is in control. Life is in His hands.
Now we can dare to live without fear or worry. The poet William Wordsworth opens his magnum opus, “The Prelude,” with a paean of appreciation for the voice of creation:
OH there is a blessing in this gentle breeze,
A visitant that while it fans my cheek
Doth seem half-conscious of the joy it brings
From the green fields, and from yon azure sky.
Whate’er its mission, the soft breeze can come
To none more grateful than to me; escaped
From the vast city, where I long had pined
A discontented sojourner: now free,
Free as a bird to settle where I will.
What dwelling shall receive me? in what vale
Shall be my harbour? underneath what grove
Shall I take up my home? and what clear stream
Shall with its murmur lull me into rest?
The earth is all before me. With a heart
Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty,
I look about; and should the chosen guide
Be nothing better than a wandering cloud,
I cannot miss my way. I breathe again!
Wordsworth expresses reckless confidence in a simple cloud to mentor him. But what seems dangerous and irresponsible succeeds in the kingdom of God.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you–you of little faith?” – Matthew 6:26-30
Jesus challenges His disciples to trust the Father completely.
Birds, flowers, clouds, ants–all these can teach us about living under God’s rule and authority. If we follow Christ, we shouldn’t be surprised if He uses silent creatures to reveal the will and heart of God.
Are we quiet?
And are we listening?