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  • Wayne Chasney

Renew and Restore

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,

your faithfulness to the clouds.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,

your judgments are like the great deep;

you save humans and animals alike, O LORD. (Psalm 36:5-6)

While on vacation last month, we stayed in a house on a high plateau in the foothills of the Berkshire and Catskill mountains. We were mostly surrounded by thick forest, but the house did look out toward the hills and mountains to the east. Down in the valley flowed a clear mountain stream that wasn’t an easy hike but worth the effort. Each morning, a light mist or fog filled the air and deer often came out into the field to graze. It was a beautiful setting to relax and enjoy the wonders of creation.

The Book of Psalms often uses creation to point to the glory and wonder of God. God’s steadfast love and faithfulness “extends to the heavens” and “to the clouds.” God’s righteousness is as solid as a “mighty mountain” and God’s judgments are fathomless “like the great deep.” The Psalmist knows only the vastness and wonder of creation can come close to helping us understand the vastness and wonder of God.

Science is now teaching us that time in nature is good for our overall mental health. A walk in the woods or on the beach can ease stress, help with depression, and improve our overall mood. Personally, I know it works for me.

Perhaps it’s because nature helps reconnect us to God. Maybe even unconsciously it fills us with a sense of the holy and divine, something greater than ourselves. The Psalm writers experienced God in creation and pointed us in that direction.

Creation is a wonderful gift of God. Take advantage of it. Be aware of God’s wonder around you. See the full pallet of colors. Listen to the myriad of sounds. Watch for nature’s little surprises. In it all, see the work of God and know that God is greater even still. Like a good vacation, it should even renew and restore our body and soul.

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