A Time to Enjoy God’s Creation

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On Saturday and Sunday, Ray and I drove up to spend some working time and some fun time with our son John and his family. We are usually in a hurry when we make this drive, but this time we stopped to smell the roses. Actually, we didn’t see or smell any roses at all. It is January, after all. What we did see were the beauties of midwestern prairies in winter.

When we darted in and out of the car for stops, we felt a crisp, invigorating chill. You might even call it frigid, but from inside the car, part of the day was bright and sunny. As we drove through a national wildlife refuge that we have driven through many times before, Ray suggested that we pull over. We parked beside a viewing stand that overlooks a lake where waterfowl gather. I looked at the viewing stand longingly, but we both decided that viewing from inside the car with the heater on was a better idea.

As we sat facing the leftover stubble of a summertime grain field, dozens and dozens of waterfowl danced high and low over the flat prairie. Back and forth they swooped in unison, over and over again, as if we were their audience and they were putting on a dance just for us.

I tried to get some pictures, but it doesn’t begin to do justice to The Dance.

The Dance
The Dance

Ray read to me from Jesus’ words about how God takes care of the birds of the air.

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow,
nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Matthew 6:26

He looked up the words and the story behind the hymn, “This Is My Father’s World.” Funny. I thought it was a fairly new song. I guess that’s because it wasn’t in Christian Hymns II, the hymnbook I grew up with, and I didn’t learn the song until I was an adult.

I learned that Maltbie Babcock lived in Lockport, New York, when he wrote the words in 1901. He enjoyed hiking by farms and orchards near his home and seeing Lake Ontario in the distance. When Babcock started out on a walk, he would say, “I’m going out to see my Father’s world.” In 1915 Franklin Sheppard arranged the tune based on a traditional English melody.

We sat in the car and watched the dance as we sang the words, partly from memory and partly by reading the words on Ray’s phone, because he found verses we had never heard before.

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

Last year we set a goal that we kept — a goal to get with friends often just for fun. As we sat in the car yesterday watching The Dance, we set a new goal for 2016 (while we reaffirmed that goal from last year) — to get out in God’s creation on a regular basis. We’re even hoping we can combine the two.

I encourage you to include time in God’s world as part of your homeschool. Don’t feel like you have to add it to what you are already doing. Really make it a part of “school.” It’s a great way to teach children about God, because His fingerprints are everywhere.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes,
His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen,
being understood through what has been made . . .
Romans 1:20

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  1. One of my absolute favorite songs…..our children’s choir is practicing this for a performance in February and my youngest daughter gets to sing a verse. I read the history behind the song some months ago and have been humming it ever since. I also have had My Faith Has Found A Resting Place on my heart the last couple months. I really think God speaks to us through the songs He lays on men’s hearts. Even in this drab January, it still is my Father’s beauty and creativity and wonder in His great wonderful world.