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The Peace of Nature

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

a mountain and blue sky are reflected in a lake

I remember visiting the home of author Elisabeth Elliot, just north of Boston, right at the edge of the sea. Commenting on the stunning view from her office window, I mentioned that it must be a great place to write. Elisabeth’s answer: “Yes, if you can’t write here, you can’t write anywhere.”

Years earlier I had taken a trip west, into the mountains of Colorado. I was in the midst of making a difficult decision. While toiling away at the most stressful job of my life, I received an offer from another company, one that would mean a complete shift of career. My first instinct was to grab it.

But I didn’t trust myself. I wanted time to think and pray, to see what God had in mind. In the midst of a sixty-hour work week, I had found it difficult to hear anything but my own anxious thoughts buzzing around in my head.

But then I went on vacation, camping in Colorado. I remember hiking out one clear, September morning, in search of a mountain lake. What I found was spectacular—a great mountain, framed by blue skies, reflected on the serene surface of the lake below. As I took in the scene, I sensed the pressure and stress that had characterized my life for months seeping away. It felt as though I were exhaling after a prolonged period of time in which I had been holding my breath. I don’t remember how long I looked at that peaceful scene, but I was in no hurry to get away. As time passed, it occurred to me that the world was a far bigger place than I had lately made it. I had been obsessing over my tiny slice of it, forgetting that the world God made is expansive, full of possibilities. I felt a new freedom to step into an unexpected possibility that had recently presented itself. When I returned home, I handed in my notice, eager to begin the next phase of my career.

Visiting that author, sitting by that mountain lake—these are two experiences of many that convince me it is possible to sense God’s presence simply by experiencing the wonder of his creation. When was the last time you were able to sense God’s presence in the midst of his creation? I encourage you to make time this week to take in the beauty of the world that he has made.

 
Originally published October 13, 2016.

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