“All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah Psalm 66:4 ESV
I have written several times about my journey with mental health the past two or three years. I am sure I will write about it in the future. We need to talk about it more today. We cannot deny that since COVID and I would argue before that, anxiety, depression, and other disruptions to life have been on the increase. For me personally, I thought I was strong in that department until I wasn’t. The day that started I will never forget.
However, I do not want to talk about the beginning of my battle with mental health. I would like to talk about the other side of the journey. It is the side that I desire all who feel they are in a bad spot, mentally and emotionally come to. When I was sitting in my back yard early one morning enjoying the sounds of the chorus of birds singing, I realized just how important getting to this place of healing had become. I also realized how God used so many things to bring me to my victory. There is still more to accomplish and through God’s Word, prayer and His power along with the mental health professionals, I am so much better today.
Sitting with my Bible, God asked me a question. “Are you paying attention to the role this backyard, this property, the wildlife, flowers and trees played in Me (God) bringing healing to you?” I knew God was not asking me to become a nature nut. I love the outdoors and everything it brings, but camping, hiking, hunting, and everything else that is supported by the Bass Pro Shop is not my thing. I have a gift card to Bass Pro that I haven’t used in 4 years.
I began to look at some scripture about God’s creation. I read how He cares for the birds and other animals. He feeds the cattle on the hills. He spoke to the masses of different animal kinds that appeared at the ark. He used a fish to save Jonah. He used a donkey too on a few occasions. God created the trees, rivers and wildlife and said it was good. There is a connection with all of God’s creation. Man, made in the image of God has the capacity to enjoy this life-giving relationship with their Creator. Jesus came to save humans, not animals. But it does not mean He doesn’t care about animals and I would say other creation nor occasionally communicate with them. Think about the tree planted just to give Zacchaeus a better view to see Jesus.
The trees and the mountains, the oceans and rivers all describe an attribute of God. Throughout scripture the Bible uses them to describe God’s beauty, power, faithfulness. Psalm 1 tells us to be like the tree planted by the water and bear the fruit of God’s love and ways. Jesus says to build our lives on the rock, so it does not fall apart. I could go on, but I think you see my point. God’s relationship with all of creation is magnificent, complex, and inspiring.
So back to God’s question. What role did creation in central Illinois play in bringing me my healing? My eyes were opened, and my memory retrieved the walks around the pond that I have written about before where I heard God say, “Walk confidently!” The sunrise in the mornings that brought relief that the long night was over. As I journeyed in my healing, that sunrise became a teacher of God’s faithfulness. The birds who sang were a familiar sound that brought comfort to me when it was hard for my soul to be quiet. Each time I would see them, I recalled the scripture of God faithfully feeding them each day and when one of them fell, He was concerned. How much more is He concerned with me? My dog Bandit! Wow, I have to say there is something special about a dog. They just get it, and they get you. That dog knew when I needed a walk and yes sometimes a talk. He never talked back thank God, but it helped that he listened. Well at least I think he did.
As I reflected on this thought from God, I burst into tears of thankfulness. I could relate to the psalmist who I am sure looked at the same creation and felt the same way. It speaks to the love, power, faithfulness, and beauty of God. You cannot ignore it. You cannot, not see it. God used these things that have an incredible purpose to say, “I am big, I am able, and I am with you!”
Bass Pro may not be in your future either, but when you step outside there is a message waiting for you. It says, “I Love You!” It reminds you He is able and present to care for you. This summer, lilies display their splendor without ever going to the mall or shop on Amazon. They simply reflect the beauty of their Creator. Admire it, thank God for it and God will use them and other beautiful things to bring you through too.