Summertime and the living is… NOT always easy! If you’re a parent with kids, you know how *challenging* summers can be! Between long work hours for my hubby and an increasingly busy schedule feeding and caring for my family (think weekly sleepovers, the constant geographical shuttling of children to and fro, doctor’s appointments, and - oh – did I mention we are scraping AND painting the house ourselves in this heat wave?!), I was distracted from my usual routine and beginning to feel exhausted. And there’s still another month until the kids go back to school!
Thankfully, through the generosity of a friend, the children and I escaped to the mountains for a few days this week, bringing one of their friends along. Here, they could swim and play with less supervision on my part, and I could relax and perhaps write. The words of David in Psalm 119 came alive to me: “Revive me, Oh Lord!”
I drank deeply of Psalm 119 on my second day here, studying the ways David was revived by God. Eleven times David pleaded with God to revive him and restore life to him. He believed God’s Word was the primary key to his spirit’s strength and revival. And he reminded God of His lovingkindness, justice (or righteous decrees in the earth), righteousness and ordinances that also revived and sustained him.
“Amen,” I said to myself. “That’s what I need – and oh, by the way, Lord, you do remember that we have a blog post to send to our friends this week, too, right?!” But no words came. I was decidedly unrevived, uninspired. Even hours in the Bible didn’t seem to have any effect on me. So I closed my Bible and went for a walk.
The children were fed and happily involved in swimming and games that would occupy them for several hours. I found a hiking trail that led up the mountain, along a quiet river. The woods sheltered me from the hot sun and the sound of the cool water soothed my overloaded soul.
I walked for miles, losing myself in the beauty around me: the shimmering clouds, the lush, green mountains that surrounded me with a sheltering hug, the flowers that yielded their nectar to the bees.
Stopping to admire some Queen Anne’s Lace, I was reminded of a visit my husband and I made to the John Adams homestead in Quincy, MA. We had just stepped out of the historic kitchen into the garden when the Holy Spirit said to me, “He needed this.” Our nation’s second President wrote often in his letters that he yearned to return to his “homestead,” especially to be among his gardens. I understood. There is something about nature – God’s creation – that soothes us in ways no human invention can.
In our universal search to find God, we forget that we are, at all times, surrounded by God. He is right here in the delicate petals of a flower, in the broad expanse of sky that leaves us breathless with delight. God longs to draw us into that “spacious place” described in Psalm 118:
“I called on the Lord in distress; The Lord answered me and set me in a broad (spacious) place. The Lord is on my side! I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me…”
We need this. When the Bible seems dry to us, we need to see God's Word in living color again, to be reminded that God is still intricately involved in our lives, sustaining all things around us, moment by moment. We need a renewal of hope!
It has been said that we "feast" on God's Word, "taste" His goodness, and indeed, Jesus became the living bread that now feeds us. (Psalm 34:8, John 6:53-54.) As I stood in the clear sunlight surrounded by creation's beauty, I felt as though I was "feasting" on God's glory as surely as the bees were being filled with God's goodness!
Romans 1:20 expands on this thought: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (NKJV.)
So often we read the previous verse as a judgment against sinful man, and yet its deeper meaning is clear: the contemplation of creation itself is anointed to bring us into deeper relationship with God! The seven-fold Spirit of God, which includes the Spirit of understanding, is revealing God’s power and threefold nature to us, even as we marvel at the works of His hands.
As I walked, I wondered. How is it that the simple appreciation of creation can revive us so? Is it just the need to slow down or find peace? Quietly, God began speaking:
Jesus upholds all things by the Word of His power. (Hebrews 1:3.) He is the firstborn over all creation (Ephesians 1:15). By Him all things were created, whether in heaven or on earth, visible or invisible. All things were created through Him and for Him (Ephesians 1:16). IN HIM all things consist! (Ephesians 1:17.)
Suddenly, my surroundings felt supernatural, as if everything around me had been transformed in one blink of my eyes. I was intensely aware of Christ’s sustaining power, bringing life to each flower, music to the river, sighs of breath to the trees. Even the rocky path beneath my feet, a well-worn trail of embedded stones, spoke to me of the thousands of believers – living stones - who have gone before us, paving the way for our faith. I was filled with the knowledge of His power, steadily sustaining the life of all created things, never failing. My strength may have failed, but His had not!
I was revived. Not just by nature itself, but by understanding the force of nature that sustains both creation and me: Jesus. It filled me with hope and encouraged me to breathe deeply, steeling myself for the next round of challenges as we return.
I want to leave you with verses from Ephesians 1:17, which speak so loudly to me today:
Therefore I also… do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe…” Ephesians 1:15-19
May God be enlightening your eyes and opening your understanding so that you, too, have hope in darker days. May you know that He creates, He revives, and He sustains you by the mighty power of Christ. (Ephesians 2:1.) I love hearing from each of you and cherish, too, your testimonies of His sustaining strength!
c. Deborah Perkins / His Inscriptions
Deborah Perkins is the founder of His Inscriptions and the author of How to Inherit Your Spiritual Promises: 5 Steps to Success and The 2016 Guide to Corporate Prayer. She lives in New England with her husband, three children, one cat and eight chickens. Since her tiny home is too small for larger gatherings, she created this site as a place where she could entertain friends more freely. She also blogs for Bible Gateway, Tyndale House Publishing, and BibleVerses.com. Join her daily here or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.