When was the last time you walked in creation and listened to God? No, not talk to God, but listen to Him.
We did this as a class activity (pretty neat school I must be going to huh?) Our teacher for the week gave us all a bible verse and the chapter to go with it. My chapter from the bible was Psalm 23, and verse 4 was highlighted.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
I set out on my quest to hear God through nature and meditate on this verse. Like any other time I am in the outside world, my main focus was on trees. I decided to walk to a nearby park. I pass this park several times a day, five days out of the week. But this was the first time I was stopped in my tracks.
…Like it was carefully holding something of precious value
The park makes the shape of a rectangle. It has thick white trees with simple greens leaves forming massive crowns, each falling into a line that forms the boarder of the park. I was at the corner of the street preparing to enter the park. I gazed at the first tree in line, I was stunned. How had I not noticed this the previous times I had passed by? How did I miss this? The tree’s broad crown was of course stretching in every direction, but unlike any of the other trees, one section of branches was separate from the rest. This section made a canopy over the road. There was a hole in the top of the tree. The longer I stared at the tree the more it took the form of a hand, an open palm, like it was carefully holding something of precious value. John 10:28-29 flooded my mind.
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
I see God’s character in the trees. They are tall, strong, majestic, reliable. Each tree is uniquely beautiful, showing God’s dynamic but sturdy nature. The tree planted in front of me was God’s hand. I felt immediate comfort at what God was telling me, He had me. No one and nothing could snatch me from his possession.
I realized the penalty of my fears.
I entered the park, sitting next to one of the many trees ready to wait patiently in silence for God to speak. I grew more and more restless. Suddenly, I felt an urge to climb one of the trees. So I did. Childhood memories of climbing the giant pine outside my friends house invaded my thoughts. I remember how each time we climbed we went a little bit higher than the last. Until finally, we had made it to the top, towering over the entire neighborhood, his house the size of an ant. Like when I was young, I had the urge to keep climbing higher and higher. This was not an easy task for the branches where smooth and inconveniently spread apart. I will be completely honest I was a little scared. I felt the fear and adrenaline residing in my gut. But I heard God saying, “Keep climbing. Keep coming closer to me. Do not be afraid. I am strong, I am sturdy, I have you.”
When I got as high as the tree would let me, I made my way horizontally on the branch, getting as far away from the trunk of the tree as I could. I was going for the limb. As I sat with my legs dangling over the empty air, I realize the penalty of my fears. I do not take risks for God. I only go where it is comfortable, where I know it is safe. How many experiences of getting to know my Savior better have I missed out on? God is calling me closer to him, to experience more of Him. If only I would take that leap of faith. Keep growing, keep climbing.
“For you are with me.”
God is holding you in his hand, He has you.