Last month I celebrated my 40th birthday. It felt like a milestone, like a much bigger deal than when I reached 20 or 30. I wanted it to be special, so for our family celebration, I opted to be in nature. With my favorite people, hiking in the great outdoors, witnessing God’s awesome beautiful design of the Earth, experiencing new sights, it felt like the perfect way to usher in the new decade. It was.
Standing on the platform, looking out over the Blyde River Canyon, I was in awe. The formations that resemble round houses called rondavels, the way the weather has carved indentations in the rocks, the blue sky meeting the peak and the river meandering through the valley below…it was all evidence of the Creator, and I was witnessing one of His many skillful masterpieces. It took my breath away.
That wasn’t the first time my breath was taken away. We travel a lot, and I’m always amazed at the different types of beauty I witness all over the world. God has created so many things for us to enjoy. Some of them are obvious, but some of them are like secret treasures waiting to be discovered. I was recently reading Indescribable by Louie Giglio. It’s an excellent devotional inspired by science, and I love how he has made parallels with science and Scripture to teach a lesson. When I came to the devotion, “What’s That Smell?!?,” I had to laugh. He describes a flower in Indonesia that looks pretty on the outside but smells like a rotting corpse. Yuck! It reminded me of a plant we have here in South Africa that I simply call skunk weed, because I don’t know the real name for it. It has beautiful green leaves and purple flowers that look similar to something you would find on a lavender plant, but if you bend down hoping to get a whiff of lavender, you will crinkle your nose in surprise and disgust. It actually smells like a skunk! There are no skunks in South Africa, so in a strange way, it actually reminds me of home.
The Earth is vast and there is so much to discover if we take the time to pause and look. Let us be like David in the Psalms when he stops to admire the work of God’s hands. Let us be in awe of our Maker and this beautiful Earth He has created for us.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1-9