Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What's Missing?

I was in a meeting today with a Wilderness Awareness instructor. He was very articulate and passionate about the importance of our getting outdoors and getting in touch with creation and with ourselves. Some of the anecdotes he shared about the learning experiences of his students was fascinating.

As my new friend talked of learning “bird language” and what difference it makes to be able to tell what birds perceive at any given time in the wilderness, he shared a brief story from his own childhood.

He grew up in California and had the opportunity as a child to often be outdoors and enjoy running down paths and eating wild blackberries, etc. Later as an adult who was engaged in wilderness studies he discovered what a robin sounded like. He recalled how delighted he was to hear and recognize the sounds of a robin.

Sometime later he went back to California to visit with his family. In his old neighborhood he was surprised one morning to hear a robin. He walked a bit and discovered that there were robins all around where his parents lived and he wondered how he could have missed the delight of a robin through all of his growing up years.

Then it occurred to him, “What if I had never learned to distinguish the sound of a robin? Robins could have disappeared and I would never have known it.”

Immediately I was struck by how grateful I am to be able to recognize the invisible presence of the Living God. I recognize how blessed I am to be able to hear His inaudible but discernable voice.

My new friend’s question took on a greater importance to me as I wondered, “If God were to disappear and no longer choose to be present among humanity how many would even know that He departed?”

My first thought was that God could disappear and those that had never experienced Him wouldn’t know He was gone. Upon greater reflection I had another thought.

The robin’s disappearance may be missed by few. However, it seems to me that most of the world would know if God disappeared and I’m not only talking about the community of faith. The Bible claims that it is God who not only created our world but He continues to hold it all together. (see Colossians 1:9-18)

It is God’s presence that continues some kind of containment on sin and wickedness. If God were to withdraw everyone would know that something catastrophic had taken place, just as surely as if the sun had disappeared, because our world would become dark with rampant, unchecked depravity.

My new friend stirred me to become more aware and conversant with the outdoors. How much more important is it that we become conversant and relational with God?

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