March 11, 2016

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?…Stand and consider the wonders of God. Job 12:7-10, 37:14b

I’ve been very, very negligent about my blog—but for a good reason. My book based on this blog will be out next month! I’ve been busy with the final proof-reading and edits, not to mention laying the groundwork for a publicity campaign.

In between all that, I’ve been thinking about wonder. I’ve enjoyed basking in yet another balmy Florida winter, enjoying the mild temperatures, continually flowering plants, and the delightful knowledge that I don’t have to deal with ice and snow.

Activity in and news from the national parks also has filled me with wonder. Have you seen the photos of Death Valley National Park’s “super bloom?” More than 20 kinds of desert wildflowers are in bloom thanks to record rainfall last October. Death Valley is the driest place in the U.S., usually recording only around two inches of water annually, so blossoms are rare. And they won’t last much longer, as the heat rises and the wind picks up.

President Obama has designated three new national monuments covering nearly 1.8 million acres of land. All are in California and link already protected areas. Mojave Trails is a landscape of mountains, lava, and sand dunes, as well as rare plants and endangered birds. Sand to Snow includes the tallest mountain in southern California and around 1,700 Native American petroglyphs (art carved on rock faces) and many bird species. Castle Mountains teems with wildlife and has a ghost town. This new acreage means the current administration has protected more land and water than any other.

And there’s a new movie coming soon to a theatre near you—National Parks Adventure, a 3-D IMAX film out for the 100th birthday of the National Park Service this year. Robert Redford narrates. Watch the two-minute trailer, check out these stunning still photographs from the movie, and read about the making of the film.

The biggest wonder of all, of course, is the God who carved out these spectacular places, and fashioned each and every plant and animal found in them. Even better is the fact that of all creation, God declares us humans His finest work.

King David pondered this many times in the Psalms. “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth, who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!…When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and stars which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and you crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:1, 3-8). “Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us. There is none to compare with You” (Psalm 40:5).

He truly is a God of wonders. As you go about your business today, take time to look for his wonders in the world around you. They’re there, no matter where you live. If that’s still a struggle, immerse yourself in the photos I’ve referenced here. Then remind yourself that you too, as one of His works, are a wonder, one greater than the most gorgeous landscapes ever made.

And repeat after me: “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in my eyes” (Psalm 118:23).

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