The Way Things Work (Even for Moles)
Wednesday afternoon. Two things were happening:
- Soil was erupting in the middle of our freshly-mowed lawn, the third such hill in an hour for one determined mole. I was not happy.
- I was listening to a YouTube video by Dr. Timothy Jennings, entitled “The God-Shaped Brain, (I won’t expand on it here, but encourage you to listen. His talk dovetails with what I say below.)
Nineteen minutes into the video, I thought of Helen Keller’s epiphany.
Stay with me here.
You remember that scene in The Miracle Worker? Annie Sullivan is madly signing the letters W A T E R into one of Helen’s hands as liquid spills from the pump over her other hand. Remember the blind, deaf, mute girl’s guttural WAH WAH—and her frantic joy when she finally understands the correlation? Helen races from tree to porch to the face of her teacher, connecting their identities to the new sign language Annie is pouring into her hand. (You can watch it here.)
As the mole shoveled another tablespoon of earth onto the hill, I felt like Helen.
“. . . 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 . . .” Romans 1:20
Smack in the middle of those molehills, I understood something about God that I’d never considered before. At least not in quite that way. I’d read the above verse a hundred times over the years, and had meditated on it as I enjoyed and cherished the natural world. The exquisite ways science and beauty reveal the mind and glory of God aren’t lost on me.
But you know what? The natural world isn’t only a display case or a metaphor for God’s power and beauty and intricate, inter-connected design, though of course it is all of those things.
The pieces fell into place for me like this:
- God’s character is revealed in the natural world.
- God’s character is love. In fact, He IS Love.
- He expresses his love in relationship. In fact, He IS relationship, relationship so close it’s ONENESS in the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Relationship that comes to us, imbues us with life, invites us in, indwells us, gives to us.
- Love is not self-centered, but other-centered, always, and extends to everything God has made. He’s always giving, fueling, healing, supplying.
- The natural world responds by giving back, creating never-ending cycles of relationships and selflessness. Giving, receiving, giving.
- Loving selflessness doesn’t deplete or empty, but instead fills and completes the giver. Regeneration happens.
- Everything in the created world is meant to operate like this. Including us.
- When the loving cycle of giving breaks, things go wrong. Since earth’s got a serious infection, this happens.
Pretty obvious, I know. If this concept reads like something out of Knowing God 101, bear with me; I can be a slow study. But as you read this, imagine that you’re watching a six-year-old’s thrill when she connects the word DOG with some penciled lines and arcs on the paper in front of her. Maybe you’ll even feel a first-grader’s joy yourself as you chew on these concepts.
Those aspens in my front yard? They’re breathing in my exhaled carbon dioxide and giving me oxygen. With my every breath, I’m returning carbon dioxide to those trees. Soil gives nutrients to plants that feed other systems and then return organic material to the soil. Just Google “biological systems” and look for the cycle of giving in each one.
Vascular, electrical, neurological, chemical, biological, mathematical, digestive, hydrologic, climatic systems: all those and more, every single one, all healthy natural interactions you can think of—when functioning as they should—are giving and cycling back to replenish, refuel or reproduce the giving organism, electron, neuron, person.
C’mon, Cheryl, you might be thinking, I learned that in grade school.
Right. I get that. Me, too.
But seeing Love in each system? A love relationship in every design? Seeing God’s character in the provision of larvae and worms to blind, paddle-footed, subterranean mammals? In how those little creatures aerate and fertilize the soil in return? Recognizing Love in the very DNA of moles?
Would love to hear your thoughts.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us . . .” 1 John 4:16-17
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy . . .” Isaiah 11:6-9
#GodisLove #Romans 1:20 #FindingPurpose #Molehills #HowThingsWork