The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
PSALM 19:1-6 (ESV)
When I was a teenager, my brother and I joined my aunt and her family on their vacation to Disney World. From day one, my sights were set on the legendary Space Mountain coaster. After weathering a crowd and a wait, I quickly got strapped into my seat, practically shaking with excitement. My brother, six years younger and just tall enough to ride, had to be convinced to get on.
Halfway through the ride, I could hear his voice loudly blaring… something behind me. I fought through the speed of the coaster and the disorienting lights and sounds exploding everywhere and twisted around in my seat to face him. I couldn’t make out much in all the frenzy, but he seemed fine, even happy. I smiled widely to reassure him and turned around to enjoy the rest of the ride.
The second we got off, my brother ran up to me at full speed and punched my arm as hard as he could. Tears all over his face, he shouted at me, “How could you? That was horrible! I was screaming, and you were laughing at me!”
Now I had no idea my brother was so scared. (He still doesn’t believe me, of course. So you’ll have to take my word for it.) Where I had experienced something thrilling enough to shake loose my teenage malaise, he had just survived a harrowing ordeal. For three intense minutes, he felt absolutely and cripplingly alone, crying frantically to deaf ears, locked in a seemingly endless terror.
You might not have experienced something quite like this, but you can probably relate to my brother’s reaction to feeling so alone. How many times a day do you pause to check in somewhere or with someone? How quickly does silence on the other end of a conversation frustrate you? Somewhere along the way we all pick up a deep desire to be noticed and seen. We want reassurance that when we call out we’ll hear back.
Many of us have struggled with feeling like God is not on the other end of the line. We call out and are left wondering where He’s hiding. The longer the silence, the louder the cry. Eventually we reach something like my screaming brother on his roller coaster ride.
Creation is one way God loves to speak to us. The vivid colors of a sunset can sing like no voice could of the beauty of our God. The changing of seasons and flowing of currents have so much to teach us of His order and wisdom. The sheer scale of a mountain can speak more words than could ever be printed about His power. In the living, moving world around us, God’s sovereignty and care prove difficult to dismiss.
And yet we can grow numb to this. Rather than seeing and appreciating the power of creation to inspire reverence and praise, we can grow blind in our seclusion from it. As the endless cycle of busyness and waste continues to spin around us, drawing our eyes away from God, desperation sets. We begin to feel alone, adrift, insignificant.
Thankfully, when we feel small God keeps talking, though He doesn’t ease our minds in the way we might expect. Rather than simply dismiss a feeling of insignificance, God sends creation to help take that feeling captive and reframe it. “You are small,” His skies seem to declare. “But how else would you know that you are surrounded by God? How else would He tell you that all of this is for your good and His glory?”
Creation assures us that God is never silent, even when our doubts seem so real. We were born into a world bursting with testimony, and He is right now answering our questions, communicating to us in an undeniable and unforgettable language who He is. Be still, Psalm 19 encourages. Open your eyes. Listen. Take a deep breath.
God, You breathed this world into being. That breath still commands waves. It still shoots stars across skies and blows dust across dunes. It is hard to fathom how a breath that carved great mountains could speak life into my tiny heart, but You have done that. Remind me you still speak. Give me eyes to see Your creation and ears to hear what it declares. AMEN.
Spend some time outside. Walk through a wooded trail at a local park. Go on a bike ride through your neighborhood. Sit outside at night and look up at the sky. God reveals Himself to us in what we see and hear and feel in creation. What is He telling you today?