Dear Friends in Christ,
I’ve been doing some reflecting lately on the whole topic of how we get to know God. What started me thinking was a number of people telling me that they find God in nature. They said that they see God in the beauty of a sunset or in the majesty of a forest, and it is nature that reveals God to them. And I have to say that I recognize that feeling. I too find that the beauty of nature leads me to feel closer to my Creator.
But that raises a question for me. If God is to be known through nature, what do we say when nature turns harsh? Nature is not always beautiful. It can be destructive and frightening. (We know that all too well as we watched tornadoes and thunderstorms race through Texas.) Nature can be threatening. If sunsets and woods tell us that God is good, what do hurricanes and floods and tornados tell us? It seems like nature finally doesn’t give us a clear picture of God.
That in fact is the case. Nature is at best ambiguous. It shows us beauty and wonder but it also shows us destruction and need. With all the complexity and wonder in Nature, I think it suggests to us that there is a divine creator. But Nature finally doesn’t tell us if God is kind or harsh, or if God is at
all interested in us.
So how do know God? Scripture has the best answer; it points us clearly to the cross. The cross. We see who God is and what God is about through the cross. On the cross of Jesus, God reveals himself to us in the supreme way. God shows us that His love for us is so great, that He sends his Son
to die for our sake. It is the cross that reveals to us the heart of God.
Our questions and searches for God find their answers in Jesus Christ. It is Jesus, crucified yet risen, who shows us who God is and what God is about. It is Jesus who clearly teaches us of God. Our conversations about God and our knowledge of God begin with Jesus and His cross.
Now, once we know God through Jesus Christ, we can then go back to nature. Because we know that God is a God who loves us and redeems us, we are sure that creation is ultimately a gift from God. We can appreciate and thank God for beautiful sunsets, and pray and be renewed in the
beauty of the woods. In addition, because we know that God loves us, we seek God’s care in times of hurricanes and floods. We know that even in harsh times and destructive times, God will be with us and care for us. In fact even more, in harsh and destructive times, we care for others with the care that
God gives to us. As we know God in Jesus Christ, we then follow God into all the world.
I do love the beauty of nature. I enjoy sunsets and woods and trees. But even more, I love the
wonder of the cross. For there I know the incredible love of my Creator.