My family and I once drove up to the top of Pikes Peak, the highest summit in the Rocky Mountains. Around 14,000 feet above sea level, we took in the breathtaking views of winding mountaintop lakes, rock formations, forests, and soaring mountains on all sides. The whole scene has been etched into our family’s collective memory, to be shared over and over.
It’s been almost half a century since Neil Armstrong declared on July 20, 1969, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” It was a momentous occasion—the first time a member of the human race had stood on the surface of the moon.
Technological expertise took the crew of Apollo 11 where no person had gone before. We can scarcely imagine the thoughts and emotions of both the astronauts and their families, but there is a lesser-known incident that took place when the crew first landed that gives some surprising insight.
I remember when I formed you. With great care and special attention I handpicked each talent, each gift, each characteristic, each fiber of your being, until the combination and proportions were exactly right and each was perfectly in sync to accomplish My purpose.
I also remember the moment when I breathed into you the breath of life. Love welled up so intensely inside Me that I could not contain it, for I knew the joy you would bring Me and those whose lives you would touch while on the great journey of life.
Peter and I were taking a few days’ break at a small beach town. One late afternoon, I was taking a walk along the beach, when I looked up to find one of the most stunningly beautiful scenes taking shape before my eyes.
The scattered clouds began to take on pastel hues of peach, violet, and gold against the deepening blue of the sky. I love sunsets, but every once in a great while I encounter one that is so awe-inspiring that I can’t take my eyes off it. And the Great Painter was certainly getting my attention with this one. It was as if He was pouring liquid colored light into each cloud. The colors crept higher and higher until they seemed to overflow, and their streams became a living, swirling kaleidoscope of ever-changing beauty.
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Do you enjoy spring strolls through fields of wildflowers, lazy summer days by the beach or pool, autumn’srich colors and smells, winter wonderlands and snow sports? Mountain vistas and wide-open spaces, dense forests and underwater worlds, from the infinitesimal to the infinite, God is the one who made all this possible.
My son Anthony is a bright,active, three-year-old who loves to learn new things. A while back, his favorite topic of conversation was lightning. He never seemed to tire of talking about storms, about how buildings sometimes catch fire when hit by lightning, and so on. When he began acting out those scenarios with his Playmobile people and Lego blocks, I channeled his thoughts and energy more positively by teaching him about how Benjamin Franklin had invented the lightning rod to avert such disasters.
I was looking at a tree outside my window and thinking how beautiful and perfect it is,producing exactlywhat God designed it to produce, fruitful and flowering, strong and beautiful, fulfilling its mission in life. A tree is a vision of the perfection of God’s creation. Even if a tree is struck by lightning, toppled in a storm, or cut down, the root will send forth new shoots, new life. Isn’t that beautiful?
God made the forests, the tiny stars, and the wild winds—and I think that he made them partly as a balance forthat kind of civilization that would choke the spirit of joy out of our hearts. He made the great open places for the people who want to be alone with him and talk to him, away from the crowds that kill all reverence. And I think that he is glad at times to have us forget our cares and responsibilities that we may be nearer him—as Jesus was when he crept away into the wilderness to pray.
—Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.—Job 12:7–10 NIV