Have you ever gone looking for something and not be able to find it. You feel as though you have searched carefully, yet you have no luck in your search. Yet, eventually, you or someone else does find it and the object was in plain sight all the time. It is right in front of your face, but you do not see it. You wonder how and the world you missed it.
I love the autumn season, especially after a long hot summer. As the days begin to cool, the colors also begin to turn. Suddenly the color of green is replaced by red, yellow, and orange as the leaves on the trees begin their annual transformation. Lee Maynard was an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist born in West Virginia. He once made this observation about Fall: “I loved Autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” Indeed, in our created world, God’s artistic creativity is always on display.
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Rome expresses how God’s work and presence can be experienced in the beauty of creation. Paul writes in Romans 1: 20: “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So, they are without excuse.” For Paul, we are without excuse in not believing in God, because as we look at the beauty of creation, God is right in front of our faces. God’s eternal power and divine nature can be seen and understood through the things God has made. Thus, every autumn tree is a doxology, every harvest moon is a song, every fallen leave is a reminder of God’s grace. God is all around us; we are just too busy and distracted at times to notice.
The challenge then becomes ours to find a way to see the wonder of God in our world. We have to create ways to rest in the beauty of God’s creation, celebrating its wonder and diversity, and using it as a means of worship. Like Nehemiah in the Old Testament we can proclaim:
“You alone are the Lord.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.” (Nehemiah 9:6)
We worship a creative and artistic God. God could have chosen to give us a bland world of sameness, but God spiced it up. The beauty of our created world is God’s good gift to all of us. So, let us treasure it and care for it and celebrate it. God is right in front of our faces in so many beautiful ways and we don’t have an excuse for missing God’s presence. So in every colored tree, every gentle breeze, every animal that scurries along, and every human face we meet, we get a glimpse of our God.