Our family went out on our first camping expedition of the year. It wasn’t far, just across the border into North Dakota.
There’s a small lake, a beach, a nature preserve, biking paths, lots for us to see & do.
One quiet morning, we were out at the beach, building sand castles and kayaking, we noticed some big birds out on the lake, and we checked them out later in our bird book and discovered they were American White Pelicans.
It’s a new experience for us, learning about birds, (we are somewhat nature ignorant). So it was fun to recognize their size, color and shape. Having not known much about birds my whole life, I was learning too.
After our camping weekend, we got home to begin another week. Monday morning, as the kids were sitting out on the porch for breakfast, I hear lots of shouting.
“MOM!!! Hurry! Come quick!!”
You’d think something near death is happening with all their yelling. I arrive at the
porch, in nurse-mode.
There’s no blood. No deformities. Rather, I see excited faces.
What in the world?
“Mom, we JUST saw a pelican! It flew right past the porch!!”
My initial reaction was to doubt them, because the pond in town is not very big, and we’ve never seen a pelican here. But, I remembered the day before, a friend had posted a picture on Facebook of a pelican at our local beach. Hence, their story was actually plausible.
The kids were thrilled - not sure if it was because the pelican flew by, or that they knew it was a pelican. I sat in wonder that they actually paid attention to their surroundings enough to notice a bird that they recognized.
How much do we pay attention to our surroundings? Not even just the physical, what about God’s work in the world both in and around us?
God Makes Himself Known
I’ve been reading through the book of Ezekiel, and I’ve come to notice a phrase that is repeated quite a bit; the Lord tells him, “Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
When is that, exactly?
Most times it is spoken when God is going to pour out his wrath and bring destruction to cities and nations. The sin, the disobedience, the perversity of what the nations had become was too much. It was time for consequences of their actions, and it would come in a loud, strong way, from the hand of God.
He also uses the phrase when He promises to bring full restoration to the Israelite nation. After God’s judgements, He promised there would come a time when the fullness of His blessing would be poured out on His people, and they would again see safety and prosperity.
Both in judgement and in restoration the Lord says the people will know who He is. In the devastation of war, famine and pestilence, there would be recognition that God had moved. When Israel would experience peace, they would know it was from God’s hand and that He had intervened. No mistaking it.
Scripture teaches us that God makes Himself known to us in many different ways, here are a few:
-We see God’s hand of creativity in the world He created around us. “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” [Romans 1:20]
-As we dig into His Word, which is “living and active” [Hebrews 4:12] and is “breathed out by God” [2Timothy 3:16-17]
-Through the love believers share for each other, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." [John 13:35]
Choosing To See
In the busyness of life, in our own self-centred world, we can forget to look around us, for all the ways God moves throughout our day, in us, and in the people around us.
If we stop paying attention to God’s presence all around us, we will forget that He is at work, our eyes will be focused on our own tasks before us, rather than seeing Him, in all His glory, as He seeks to bring the world to Himself.
It’s a hard line to follow. It is difficult to pay attention, in the middle of distractions, things to do, families to care for, and the ever-enticing world of social media. But this is what Jesus did, He paid attention to what was going on around him, the leper calling out from the wayside, the hidden woman who touched his cloak among the crowd, and the short man hiding in a tree, who just wanted a better look.
There is time for us to acknowledge and worship our Savior every day. We just have to take it. It’s easier to see God move in the big things - like the restoration of a whole nation, or His judgement in catastrophe. But let’s worship Him in the daily rhythms of our life, and see Him in the everyday, ordinary tasks, because He is with us and He’s always at work around us.
Where do you see God at work in and around you today?
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