In Psalms 65 and 66, the psalmist recounts all that God has done and all that he has created. In jubilant psalms of praise, the psalmist describes God’s “awesome and righteous deeds” (Ps 65:5), God’s power displayed in his creation, God’s abundance in caring for the land and watering it, God’s bounty in providing for humankind and animals alike. “Come and see what God has done,” he says in Psalm 66. “his awesome deeds for mankind” (Ps 66:5). Physician and author J. Matthew Sleeth invites us to share the healing that comes from bearing witness to the miracle of God’s creation:
When the psalmists advise us how to heal spiritually, they do not tell us to purchase a television, car, house, self-help book, or exercise equipment. God, they say, is to be found in the natural world that he created, a world filled with the grandeur, beauty, and peace that are so often lacking in our material world.
What remedy does God prescribe for our souls? [Quiet] waters and green pastures (see Ps 23:2). Find a place where there is nothing man-made in sight. Sit or lie down. Be still, and know who God is (see Ps 46:10). Do not pray. Do not worry. Do not think. Your house, your cell phone, and your new kitchen do not give glory to God. The Bible states that if it is God-made (streams, mountains, birds, trees), it praises God … When only God-made things surround you, you are in a fellowship of praise.
If you live in a city, try to find one small area that consists of only God-made things. If you must, lie on your stomach and stare at a one-square-foot area. If there is noise or highway sound, put your hands over your ears. You will hear the sound of your own pulse and breath. That’s okay. And that’s the point. You are God-made. We have forgotten that we have far more in common with a honeybee than we do with our SUV or DVD …
Perhaps many of our problems, including those of depression and anxiety, are warning signals that we are living a lifestyle that God does not sanction or want us to lead. The response to mental pain and discomfort should be to seek restoring connection with God. In seeking quiet moments, green pastures, and still waters, we may find just what our souls need.
Do you know in which direction the Milky Way traverses the sky? As the phases of the moon progress, does the light go from right to left, or left to right? Can you identify a greater number of trees or cars? If the Bible says God knows every flower and bird, why do we spend so much effort knowing the names of man-made items? Maybe we’re paying attention to the wrong things. Maybe this is why life seems so hard. If this is our Father’s world, maybe we should pay more attention to it.
Think About It
- In what ways does your culture and lifestyle distract you from God’s created world?
- In what ways does God’s creation reflect his glory?
- What within you needs healing?
Act on It
Follow Sleeth’s advice. Get outside this week and surround yourself with only God-made things. Worship God in the company of his creation.
Night Light for Couples – Believe the Best
“If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:10
T he floor at Art and Naomi Hunt’s house was scattered with wrenches, screwdrivers, and a host of oddly shaped pieces of wood and metal. The task at hand? To construct a new gas barbecue. Art knew that Naomi was the more mechanically gifted partner in their marriage, but he was determined to put together this latest addition to their arsenal of modern cooking appliances. As Art struggled, his wife watched. Finally, progress stopped altogether, and Art reluctantly asked for Naomi’s advice. But instead of just giving her opinion, Naomi took the wrench from Art’s hand and began finishing the job herself.
Not surprisingly, Art felt rather emasculated, incompetent, and foolish. Now he faced a choice. He could believe either the best or the worst about Naomi’s actions. If he believed the worst, he would think, Man, she’s taking control. She doesn’t have any confidence in my abilities. Or, believing the best, he could tell himself, She’s going further than I asked her to, but she’s just trying to help me. That’s okay. Art chose the latter.
In a lifelong relationship, we regularly arrive at these emotional crossroads. We could go either way: give our partner the benefit of the doubt, or give ourselves the right to take offense. When we choose to see our spouse’s good intentions and base our reactions on them, we’re taking the road toward intimacy and away from unnecessary conflict. As Art Hunt understood, the real task at hand was building his relationship with Naomi, not putting together a new gadget.
Just between us…
- How do we usually react when one of us steps in to help the other?
- Do we see the best in each other’s motives? If not, why?
- Do either of us give the other reason to question our motives?
Dear God, my spouse is Your gift to me, and I’m grateful. Help me to always believe, see, and act on the best. Grant me grace to mature in this area. Amen.
From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson