I just got back from a trip to the wilderness. It was a good time of being with my family; we made more than just a few happy memories 🙂 And hiking through the wilderness – some of it fairly remote – brought before me again just how much of His character God has put into the things He created.
It’s obvious to say it about a human being – “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). The sin nature has done its part to rob us of that image, but still, within every human is God’s image, a picture or reflection of God, Himself.
But in the natural world, I also saw God’s character and personality. Driving along near Lake Mead, the sagebrush in the desert earth, cracked for lack of moisture, I saw His goodness and faithfulness in time of what we would consider lack – He provided for these plants the necessary means of survival. He wasn’t testing their endurance or teaching them a lesson. He had given them all they needed – the water conservation, the rain in season, the physical makup – to not only withstand the conditions, but to thrive there in the desert. They had a special grace and, while it would seem strange to a meadow wildflower, they had a beauty not found in the more lush places.
On the California coast, Point Reyes is the 2nd foggiest place in North America, experiencing over 200 days of total fog each year, not to mention being the windiest place on the coast. Yet tucked within the misty grasses, I found gumplant, like lovely yellow sunflowers, and little pink beach morning glories, the vines spreading happily below the tops of the seeding grass. They were not suffering for lack of sun, or pining away, holding on for dear life against the winds and sea spray. They were flourishing in the environment they had been groomed to meet; full of life because they had what was necessary for their unique environment.
God is looking to give us what we need in our current and future situations. He’s not looking for us to merely “get by” or “withstand the test”; He came to give us life, and life abundantly (John 10:10).
If I put one of those sagebrush on Point Reyes, it would not flourish. It was made for sun and heat and lack of precipitation, not for mist and clouds and sea spray. Yet sometimes we feel God has taken us as sagebrush and placed us on a misty ocean headland. But we were called to life abundantly.
God has what it takes for you to flourish in your current environment. His joy is to share that with you so that it is not the environment that overcomes you, but that you overcome your environment (John 16:33), so that, like a beach morning glory you can thrive among the grass on the misty headland. Instead of crying out “Lord, save me from this headland”, maybe we should be asking God what the tools are that He has for us to flourish in our current environment.