There’s a lot of negative stuff going on in the world, there’s no doubt about that. Death, illness, economic problems individually and corporately, lockdowns, social distancing, quarantine and all manner of things that seem sent to try us. It’s easy to see that we might be struggling to see anything other than the negative in life at the moment.
But, going about my day-to-day life in recent days, all within a very short distance from home, I’ve been struck by one thing that continues to permeate the world, undaunted by and oblivious to the things going on around it. Nature.
For many of us, everyday life has altered considerably – in some cases beyond recognition – in just a few weeks. There is much uncertainty. There is much unprecedented change. There is much concern. But nature remains unhindered. The seasonal change as spring gets into full swing carries on undaunted. Leaves burst into life, blossom adorns branches, birds gather bedding for their nests.
For those who live in towns and cities, the chance to see the depths of the natural world at a beauty spot may be a distant dream for now. But even in our urban settings, nature is flourishing around us. And I’ve been struck by the beauty of that nature, on my brief and necessarily-short walks around our local streets in recent days, in a fresh way.
To me, it seems that the need to pare back day-to-day life to the simplest of forms has made the beauty of nature all the more amazing when it is found. Put simply, the simplicity of current life – the lack of distractions – had highlighted the complexity of God’s creation.
From amazing cherry blossom within a currently-untended community garden project, to the amazing detail of a butterfly on the wall of a house, the beauty of nature is out there, even in the urban sprawl, waiting for us to find it. Where we put our focus may determine whether we see it or whether we remain fully occupied with what we are currently missing out on.
The birds, the butterflies, the wild animals are all undaunted by everything that is occupying our human minds and lives. They are not restricted by social distancing rules. They have no need to fear illness or worry about where their next meal is coming from or when they might see their family. Nature has an in-built trust that its needs will be met – and they will be. God will provide for the needs of the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and if we allow ourselves to put our trust in Him instead of worrying He will provide for our needs to.
And whatever we are facing today, perhaps we can take a moment when outside the house, or even looking out of the window, to be alert to the beauty around us. It might brighten our day in a whole new way.
Psalm 104, verses 24-25, says, “How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number – living things both large and small.”
Sarah Moore is the author of For the Love of Lentil, A journey of longing, loss and abundant grace, which tells the story of her experience of pregnancy and miscarriage. Copies of the book, along with baby loss awareness badges which are sold in aid of Baby Lifeline, are available here.