Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Matthew 6:26
A friend and I recently visited a favorite walking spot of mine. Climbing a windswept hill, we crossed a field of wildflowers into a forest of towering pines, then descended into a valley where we paused a moment. Clouds floated softly above us. A stream trickled nearby. The only sounds were birdsongs. Jason and I stood there silently for fifteen minutes, taking it all in.
As it turns out, our actions that day were deeply therapeutic. According to research from the University of Derby, people who stop to contemplate nature experience higher levels of happiness, lower levels of anxiety, and a greater desire to care for the earth. Walking through the forest isn’t enough, though. You have to watch the clouds, listen to the birds. The key isn’t being in nature, but noticing it.
Could there be a spiritual reason for nature’s benefits? Paul said that creation reveals God’s power and nature (Romans 1:20). God told Job to look at the sea, sky, and stars for evidence of His presence (Job 38–39). Jesus said that contemplating the “birds of the air” and “flowers of the field” could reveal God’s care and reduce anxiety (Matthew 6:25–30). In Scripture, noticing nature is a spiritual practice.
Scientists wonder why nature affects us so positively. Maybe one reason is that by noticing nature we catch a glimpse of the God who created it and who notices us.
Since nature isn’t God, and vice versa, how do you think He can be seen through it? How can you take a few minutes today to notice His care through His creation?
God of heaven, earth, streams, and birdsongs, I worship You today.
As we read Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25–34, we can see how nature teaches us about God’s care for us. When we consider the birds, we see God’s provision (v. 26). Worms don’t just appear; the birds have to go find them, but God makes the food available. In a similar way, this is how He provided for the Israelites in the wilderness. When they needed food, God provided manna (bread from heaven) that appeared on the ground. However, the Israelites had to gather exactly what they needed for that day (see Exodus 16).