With Nature and With God
This is the first in a series of articles for the Oregon Conference eCommunique. It's purpose is to highlight beautiful places in and near Oregon where a person can be both invigorated and inspired. We (suggestions/contributions welcome!) will share photos, personal experiences, Scripture and Ellen White quotes, research, maps, and other information to help everyone from the couch potato to the professional athlete gain rich blessings from the Creator's creation, especially on Sabbath afternoons.
The basis for these articles is found in chapter 3 of The Ministry of Healing called, "With Nature and With God." It opens with this paragraph.
The Saviour's life on earth was a life of communion with nature and with God. In this communion He revealed for us the secret of a life of power.
Jesus was no worshiper of nature. Rather, He used the filter of Scripture to look through the good things of nature to receive lessons and love from His heavenly Father. We may do the same. There is much evil and death in nature, but unlike manmade cities and schedules, the cycles and bounties of the seasons relax the stressed body, inspire the soul, and bring us into harmony with our Father Himself.
He who has paid the infinite price to redeem men reads with unerring accuracy all the hidden workings of the human mind, and knows just how to deal with every soul. And in dealing with men, He manifests the same principles that are manifest in the natural world. The beneficent operations of nature are not accomplished by abrupt and startling interpositions; men are not permitted to take her work into their own hands. God works through the calm, regular operation of His appointed laws. So it is in spiritual things. — Testimonies to Ministers, 189
I used to work and work and stretch myself to, and beyond, the breaking point, thinking that one day I will take that magical vacation that will heal all my ailments. I have since discovered that it is far more beneficial to take frequent, regular breaks with both family and alone with God. I can't say much about your family, but I can assure you that you will never regret the hours and days spent in communion with God beneath His throne (the starry heavens) and in His footstool (the earth). (see Isaiah 66:1)
And don't take just my word for it. There is much research that validates the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of time in nature. The Washington Post recently described a study where test subjects were measurably rejuvenated simply by looking at pictures of nature!
I hope you will do much more than just look at the pictures and read the words in these articles. I hope you will take your experience with nature and with God to the next level. Just imagine where you could be after one year, even one season, of regular time of walking with God as Enoch did. Your Father wants to bring you that close to Himself, and you will reach it if you get up off the couch, amble to the front porch, then walk into the woods or along the beach, again and again and again.
There is much more to share, including my own and others' personal stories, but for now, let's close with the last paragraph from our theme chapter.
All who are under the training of God need the quiet hour for communion with their own hearts, with nature, and with God. In them is to be revealed a life that is not in harmony with the world, its customs, or its practices; and they need to have a personal experience in obtaining a knowledge of the will of God. We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us, "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10. This is the effectual preparation for all labor for God. Amidst the hurrying throng, and the strain of life's intense activities, he who is thus refreshed will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace. He will receive a new endowment of both physical and mental strength. His life will breathe out a fragrance, and will reveal a divine power that will reach men's hearts.
See you outside!
by Ed Lyons, 2/24/17