Hi everyone. Rob here.
I was standing on Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, California, when a guy calls out “there’s whales!” Sure enough, just ahead of us a couple of Gray Whales, near the end of the annual migration north, were cruising by. Amazing. I’d always wanted to see whales in their natural habitat and here they were. I felt kissed by God as a pelican flew just by my head and a sea otter frolicked in the water. The next day, just past San Simeon I watched hundreds of elephant seals on the beach just doing their thing, oblivious to the awe-filled spectators and their cell-phone cameras. I mentioned Yosemite National Park last week and it’s majestic beauty that leaves you crying out in worship to the Creator. Here’s the deal – Life wins. It’s John Eldredge’s final point in his book Moving Mountains (I’ll write about that soon) about prayer and it’s the Bible’s final point also. Life wins, death dies and the kingdom is ours, fully, wholly, gloriously.
For now though, it seems that there is an awful lot set against life. As I watched whales cruise by I also noticed several off-shore oil rigs making ocean life very fragile indeed. At Yosemite I was caught in a weekend traffic jam as thousands of people descended upon that pristine landscape taking selfies as if they were the centre of the story in that place! The flight path into San Diego airport goes right over the wonderful Balboa Park that sits in the middle of the city. They create a sanctuary and then allow large and noisy jets fly right over it. Do we have no respect? It seems that we are so desperate to arrange for the life we want that we lose sight of the life that’s all around us.
I suggest we start to remedy this by practicing deep gratitude. Be thankful for city councils that create city parks, collect our rubbish every week and plant flowers in the inner-city just to create some beauty. Be thankful for governments (yes, really!) that create national parks, collect taxes that get used for conservation initiatives and make rules that stop us doing some really horrible things to nature. Be thankful for volunteers who take care of elephant seal colonies, local wildlife areas and advocate for the environment. Most of all be thankful for a Creator whose unparalleled imagination gave us waterfalls, wildflowers, rivers, oceans, wildlife, desert, mountains and the Grand Canyon.
While I travelled the Father gave me gifts and almost all of them were related to his wild creation. He reminded me that he is, indeed, the God of life. It was all his idea. But the battle rages between life and death; the kingdom of God and the kingdom of evil. As I observed creation while I was in America the battle showed itself to be very real. We need to be on God’s side. We need to learn to love what he loves and he called his creation “very good.” Let’s love it, enjoy it, advocate for it because God wants us to be at home in it – forever and ever and ever.