This is my Father’s world, | and to my list’ning ears | all nature sings, and round me rings | the music of the spheres. | This is my Father’s world; | I rest me in the thought | of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; | his hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world; | the birds their carols raise; | the morning light, the lily white, | declare their maker’s praise. | This is my Father’s world; | he shines in all that’s fair. | In the rustling grass I hear him pass; | he speaks to me ev’rywhere.
He may have written them over a hundred years ago, but it’s still easy to get in tune with the words of Maltbie Davenport Babcock’s beloved hymn in these days of germinating seed, new shoots, green grass, blue skies, chirping birds, pleasant temperatures, and gentle rains. We see God’s handiwork all around us and we love it. We not only feel blessed, we know with all certainty we are blessed! Faith in God and in God’s goodness come easy in days like these.
But our faith in God and in God’s goodness gets pushed just a bit, gets put to the test when we see things like dark thunderclouds looming on the horizon, or hail stones bouncing off the ground, or lightning bolts striking all around, or a twister coming near. It’s at times like these that we wonder how a God that’s good could do such things. We forget that these phenomena were seen by the Old Testament people of God as signs not only of God’s presence but also of God’s activity on their behalf! The thundercloud surrounded Mt. Sinai while God was there talking with Moses. And God rained down heavy hail on the land of Egypt in the seventh plague but not on the land of Goshen where the people of God resided. And lightning, or “fire from heaven”, showed up on several occasions in the Old Testament, among them the igniting of the Prophet Elijah’s sacrifice on Mt. Carmel during his duel with Jezebel’s “prophets of Baal”. And it was by a “whirlwind” (a tornado) that the Prophet Elijah “ascended into heaven”.
However, when we see things like floods and fires and earthquakes our faith gets severely tested. For we forget they, too, are God’s tools for sculpting His great Creation. The beauty of the painted canyons in the Badlands would not be there had it not been for rushing water and severe erosion. And the vast reserves of lignite in the western part of the state would not be there were it not for some lush vegetation being covered over by a vast inland sea and then a layer of topsoil. And how the petrified wood deposits in the southern part of the State came to be, we’re not sure except that wood had to at one time have grown where now there’s only treeless prairie. Yes, God’s creative work continues to this very day, even despite the activities of our human race. For when we, with eyes glazed over by dreams of fame and fortune, disfigure the earth and pollute the water and dirty the air God has a way of cleaning up behind us even if we don’t see it in our generation. Maybe that’s what Maltbie Babcock was driving at when he wrote the third verse of his great hymn:
This is my Father’s world; | oh, let me not forget | that, though the wrong seems oft so strong, | God is the ruler yet. | This is my Father’s world; | why should my heart be sad? | The Lord is king, let heaven ring; | God reigns, let earth be glad!
God bless you as you take time to drink in the beauty and the wonder of creation and come to know, beyond all doubt, the goodness and greatness of our God!
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