Philosophy Lite: Live in God's glorious wonderland
By Raymond Smith
The chances are that if you took a vacation this year, it was to some scenic area so that you might enjoy the grandeur of God's wondrous world.
You may have gone to Yellowstone, Niagara Falls, the Ozarks, the Grand Canyon or the Rockies. But wherever it was, the view was one of admiration and reverence.
Alaska is in the news today because of Sarah Palin's upcoming family program on Alaskan scenery and adventures.
Many naturalists have been enthralled by the beauty and intricacy of nature. Ansel Adams spent most of the years of his life extolling the beauties and wonder of the High Sierras of California, especially the area of Yosemite.
He said, "Yosemite valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space. I know of no sculpture, painting or music that exceeds the compelling spiritual command of the soaring shape of granite cliff and dome, of patina of light on rock and forest, and of the thunder and whispering of the falling, flowing waters."
What is it about a gurgling creek or a waterfall or a bubbling spring that excites us? There is something awesome about thunder, lightning and wind. Although some damage from the storm may occur, I still relish that experience.
The English have always prided themselves on their gardens. When we were there a few years ago we visited three large and beautiful gardens.
Those who have telescopes may be awed by the starry heavens.
When I was a child, I took everything for granted, but as an adult I have become more contemplative and have learned to really appreciate the world God has given us.
Especially since writing these articles, I have been more alert to signs of God and His extensive creation. Seeing a beautiful animal brings the Creator to mind. The American Indian and most primitive peoples around the world, regardless of their religion, hold the elements of God's creation in high respect.
One of the joys of bringing up children is introducing them to the wonders of God's creation. And, during this time there will be frogs, horned toads, lizards, snakes and mice to be discovered. There will be the usual cat and dog to start with and later, gerbils or rabbits.
Robert Louis Stevenson put it nicely, "The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be happy as kings."
That happiness depends on whether or not our eyes are open to the truth behind such things.
Lastly, there is the wonder of the people themselves. Psalm 8:3 says, "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou are mindful of him?"
God is indeed mindful of him and friendships with His people can also bring us joy and fulfillment.
Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and president of Strong Families of Victoria.