Kathy and I are spending time with family in Florida. While here, we are hosting our friends Pastor Tony and Ronelle Schultz for a visit. We scheduled some time so they could see some of the local sites. Tony and I golfed and we fished. We all went to the beach. But we also did something which is rather unique to Gainesville. All of us visited the Butterfly Rainforest at the Natural History Museum of the University of Florida.
I'm sure such exhibits exist elsewhere, but this is the only place I've been where various species of live butterflies and moths fly around you, and a person gets to observe them more naturally than if they were in a display case, dead. So Tony and Ronelle and Kathy and I wandered through this exhibit, a screened in area of trees and flowers. As we walked around we observed the various species that were present. We saw smaller butterflies and moths, and larger ones. We saw some of these insects with stripes, and some with spots. We saw butterflies that were yellow, and some that were red, and others that were blue. Perhaps my favorite was a large butterfly that was brown on the outer side of its wings, but brilliant blue inside. I guess, the brown allows for camouflage, and the blue displays the beauty of this species.
As we were looked around, somewhat separately, observing and taking pictures, Kathy and I turned to each other and said almost the same thing. I told Kathy, "The diversity and beauty of God's creation is really on display." And, as I was saying that, Kathy simultaneously started to tell me, "How can a person not believe in God when you see all this? It can't just be an accident!"
Scripture is full of testimony about the glory of God found in the world around us. Psalm 19:1 teaches us, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Or, said in another way, when we look at the skies we can see God's work.
Also, my recent daily devotions have been in Isaiah. Therefore, I recently read in Isaiah 40:12, "Who has measured the water in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountain on the scale and the hill in a balance?" The creative power of God is beyond anything we can do!
And, in Job 38-41 the Lord tells Job and his friends of the many wonders of God's creation. Chapters 39 and 41 especially reveal truth about God's hand in creating the living creatures of the world. Job has no answer to the Lord's revelation concerning His creative power.
Yet, all of this focus on the wonders of God in the world around us ignores the crown of His creation - people! Psalm 8 reminds us, "3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas." The Psalmist marvels at man's unique place in the Lord's creation.
Not all people come to the same conclusion which Kathy and I reached. But, I am constantly in awe when I look at the wonders of creation. Kathy and I were brought to that same conclusion as we came face to face with the beauty and diversity of just the few species of butterflies and moths on display. The colors, the shapes, the different sizes, captivated our minds, and made us realize there is much that is beyond our human knowledge and ability.
Realizing this, the truth of Psalm 8:4 becomes even more obvious. 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Yet, the God who created the universe, who made the various species with all their beauty and diversity, the Lord of all wisdom and power, does care for us. As Jesus taught Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Imagine that! God fashioned the incredibly beautiful world around us, and this all-powerful, all-wise God, also cares about each of us!
How about you? Does the grandeur of our world ever strike you? Does the beauty found in the colors in the world bring you joy ? Does the diversity of wildlife ever bring humility to your heart? And just think, the God who made the world in power and wisdom, by the Word of His mouth, also knows each of us individually! He cares for us. And, when we rebelled and sinned, God even sent His own Son to die for us and save us. How can we not echo the last verse of Psalm 8? "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:9)
A Child of God, Overwhelmed that the Lord Who Created All, Knows and Cares for Us!
P.S. I'm having computer issues again and these links to pictures don't seem to be working. If you copy them and paste them as a url they seem to work.
P.P.S. Here are some pictures of our visit to the Butterfly Rainforest. https://photos.app.goo.gl/NsfKiVNoT1u1WmGy6
P.P.P.S. Here are other pictures of the visit of the Schultz's.
- Here is time at the Beach and Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. https://photos.app.goo.gl/gCXCn7TfsurPqjbW6
- Here are pictures from our fishing and golf outing. https://photos.app.goo.gl/6QyFTG7CvEsrDLwP9
- Here are pictures from the rest of our tour in the Natural History Museum. https://photos.app.goo.gl/G3JxKScET4VZw7UC7
ABOUT THIS DEVOTION - I am now retired as senior pastor of St. John Lutheran in Palmer, AK. This devotion was previously titled, "Thoughts from the Pastor." However, with life's changes I will now call it "Journeys Through Life as a Child of God." I am only sending this message to those who have asked o receive it. If you know someone else who desires to receive this message, have them e-mail me at email@example.com. You can also view this message on my Facebook page.