I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
(Psalm 9: 1-2)
Sunlight flickered through the window of my home office, enticing me to put aside my work and go outside for a morning walk. Eager to indulge in my hobby of photography, I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs.
The fragrance of the summer mountain engulfed me as soon as I stepped outside the door. I inhaled deeply, as the sweet and musky scent lured me into the woods, as if I was being courted by the Most High.
The first light of day peeked between the towering trees, creating a sunlit path for me to walk on, wooing me away from the cares of the day. Meandering along the sunlit path, I was serenaded by a cardinal’s song, the sweet twittering of the finches, and the pecking of a woodpecker nearby. At times they sang solo, and at times they joined together in unison, their melodies reverberating throughout the woods in heavenly harmony.
Summer daisies held their white and yellow heads high on spindly stems, swaying in the June breeze , creating a stage for a butterfly performance. I paused to watch the butterflies dancing from flower to flower; their stellar show was a lovely reminder of the power of transformation. If God can change a lowly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, imagine how much he can change us!
A symphony awaited me by the side of the creek. I stopped to listen to the water trickling over the rocks, resounding forth a refreshing melody. The sun’s rays cascaded through the trees creating diamonds on the face of the water. The diamonds shimmered in tune with the trickling song of the creek – a token of nature’s beauty.
Overcome with thankfulness for the beauty of a simple morning walk through the woods, I paused near a crooked little tree, which held a unique beauty of its own, to say a prayer of praise to the Most High – A prayer of gratitude to the One who blessed me with the sweet mountain fragrance, a sunlit path, a birdsong chorus, summer daisies, a butterfly dance, and a creek side symphony.
Where is God leading you today? Is He wooing you to set aside some time to follow Him to a place of rest and renewal? Whether that place is a room in your home, a park bench in a crowded city, or a secluded mountain, God loves it when we spend time alone with Him.
There is nothing like being courted by the Most High!
But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.
(Habakkuk 2: 20)
In the book of Habakkuk, we find the nation of Judah in turmoil because of persistent sin. The prophet Habakkuk was worried about the spiritual decline he was witnessing in the nation. It seemed as if injustice was prevailing. Habakkuk cried out for God to intervene and wondered if God was even listening when things seemed to get worse instead of better.
Habakkuk didn’t get the answers he wanted. In fact, he was told Judah would face destruction at the hands of the Babylonians. Habakkuk questioned God’s means of bringing justice to the nation of Judah. However, God gave him assurance, through a vision, that one day in the future Judah would be restored.
Habakkuk trusted God and wrote a prayer of praise and hope when he realized God was still in control, regardless of the impending destruction coming.
I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. (Habakkuk 3: 16-19)
Does the nation being in turmoil because of sin sound familiar? Does it seem as if injustice rules today? Do you often feel concerned about where our nation is headed and how much worse it may get? If so, you’re not alone.
I see things each day that concern me. With all the talk about fake news and a foreign country interfering with our democracy, it can be difficult to discern truth from falsehoods at times. Who can we really believe? We certainly can’t count on many politicians to speak the truth.
Anger and hatred is spreading across our nation like a festering wound. Fights breaking out on multiple airlines, a politician attacking a reporter, a woman at a fast food restaurant attacking the workers for not getting her food quick enough, and the verbal assaults on social media are astounding. The list could go on and on.
Thankfully, we can rest assured that God is still in control in a world that seems to be spinning out of control. We know that while injustice swirls through our nation, God is a just and loving God and that injustice will not prevail forever.
How should we respond to a world filled with deception and destruction? Like the prophet, Habakkuk, we can offer up a prayer of praise and hope knowing God’s ways are just and perfect.
Get alone with God. Sit in silence before him. Talk to him about your fears and anxiety. Sing a song of praise or say a prayer of hope. Choose to believe and trust his ways above the ways of this world.
When I start to feel overwhelmed by the craziness of the world around me, I love to spend some time in my spot by the pond (pictured above). For some reason I feel closer to God there. It’s nothing fancy, just a secluded area by my pond. Many tears have been shed there, and I can’t count the number of prayers I’ve offered up to God in that spot.
Sometimes it helps to have a spot where you can go and get alone with God. Whether your spot is in a city or a mountain doesn’t matter. Taking your concerns and cares to God, and sitting in silence before him, is the best remedy for a dealing with a nation in distress.
Do you have a favorite spot to be alone with God?
When thru the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook
And feel the gentle breeze.
Then sings my soul,
My savior God to Thee,
How great thou art!
How great thou art!
(Carl Boberg / Translated by Stuart K. Hine)