I paced my backyard, waiting to take a phone call outside so as not to interrupt my daughter’s nap. I could feel precious minutes wasting away while I waited.
I plopped in the grass, sighing while looking out onto the horizon. So much to do and so little time.
What if this is a gift?
The thought caught me off guard.
What? Being stuck out here with nothing to do while I waited on someone who didn’t have the decency to call on schedule?
Who says you’re stuck? Look up.
I tipped my head up and stared. Thousands of leaves swayed in the breeze, a display of elegance and beauty.
Easing into the grass, I watched the tree limbs dance, transfixed by the delicate movement just above me. Birds twittered their songs as dragonflies flitted about. Puffy clouds sailed through the blue sky above, and the sun shone down with soft light.
“They’re all worshipping You,” I whispered.
Yes, they are, came the reply.
And then I remembered this verse, hidden in the old book of Isaiah, promising a time when God’s people will seek Him and rejoice in Him, as will all creation:
For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)
I could hear the clapping now, the soft branches swaying as they praised their Creator.
I sat transfixed, totally immersed in the symphony of praise happening in my own backyard. These trees and birds and everything else was created to worship God, as was I.
My heart joined nature’s song all around me, singing out loud right there under the trees. What had been an annoying delay became the highlight of my day, a breath of fresh air for this soul stuck in the stuffy indoors.
And then I realized that this worship concert worship happens every day just outside my window, but I’m too caught up in my little world indoors to notice.
Making Time to Be Still
I usually spend so much time focused on what’s right in front of me that I forget there’s a whole world above and around me, visible only when I take time to be still and observe. But that impromptu nature praise concert made me long for more.
I’m not saying we should ignore our responsibilities to watch the clouds. Of course we need to be faithful in our calling — whether that’s being a good worker or a watchful mom or a loving wife — and I’m a big fan of using our time wisely, every last minute of it.
But sometimes, the best use of our time is to put down our phones and our to-do lists and join creation in its worship of our God. God Himself invites us:
Be still, and know that I am God. […] I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:11)
God is exalted in creation all around us. We need only to make time and join in. We’ll be glad we did.
Worshipping God in Nature
Don’t know how to worship God outside? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Get outside on your lunch break and look at the sky. Don’t instagram it. Just enjoy it for its beauty and soak in how big God is.
- Take the kids outside and lay on the grass. Ask them what they see, what they hear, what they smell. Ask them who created all those things and how does nature praise God?
- Read Isaiah 55:12, Psalm 19:1, Nahum 1:3 or Romans 8:19-21 while sitting outside. Reflect on these questions: In what ways does nature reveal God’s glory? If clouds are “the dust of God’s feet” what has He seen in your neighborhood today? What does it mean that creation groans with the weight of sin? How do you picture the created world anxiously longing for Jesus’ return?
- Sing a few hymns of praise while walking through a park. Some of my favorite are “How Great Though Art,” “All Creatures of Our God and King,” and “For the Beauty of the Earth.”
- Worship God while watching a sunrise or sunset; delight in His artistic expression and praise Him with each changing color.
Even if you’re more of an indoor person like me, worshipping God in nature will help you connect with Him in a way that no amount of reading or studying alone will do. But if you’re looking for more creative ways to worship God, this list of 120 ways to connect with God might help.
Right now, stop and listen: What’s creation singing just outside your window? Go and join in their song.
As for me, you’ll find me outside today, gazing at the blue sky above. It’s my new favorite place to be.