Encountering a Natural God

The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands

by Amanda Judah

 

One of the benefits of travelling in Ecuador has been observing the amazing amount of natural diversity packed into such a small area. Within a few hours, you can be on the top of a mountain covered in snow, in the middle of a rainforest, or on the coast listening to the waves. It has been such a blessing to experience all of these different natural wonders, which have allowed me to catch a glimpse of the Divine.

Living amid a mountain range and travelling to the valley every day for school means that I am constantly in the presence of the mountains. Looking down from the top reminds me of the vastness of the world around me, but looking up at mountains never fails to remind me how small I am. Tiny colorful houses and streets fill the mountain’s base up until the steep summit covered in deep green trees. These giant mountains appear totally rooted to me, but as Jesus reminded his disciples in Matthew 17:20, even a tiny amount of faith can move them.

 

We are now entering the rainy season, and witnessing some torrential downpours has reminded me of the irresistible nature of God’s will. Often, there are circumstances in life we can’t control. But just like the water helping the plants to grow, God can use these circumstances for our good. According one of my friends who is from the rainforest himself, I still haven’t experienced a “true” storm. It’s amazing that each climate can reveal something new about how we perceive the Divine, and that we can all experience different truths in different ways, or at different times in our lives.

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As I anticipate visiting the Galapagos next week, I am also struck by the variety of animals on our planet and the duty we have as stewards of the earth to protect them. There are so many sub-species that have evolved on each island, each with the necessary characteristics to flourish in their habitats. As in Matthew 6:8, God provides for the lilies of the valley, and likewise He has cared for these animals through generations. Hearing about these animals also serves as a reminder to appreciate diversity among all humans, just as much as the differences between these animals are celebrated.

 

Getting to experience the beauty of the natural world around me has reminded me of the mystery of God. Despite my efforts to describe what it is like to view these scenes, I will always fall short. I will never be able to understand everything about my environment, but am lucky to have learned something from the magnificence I encounter daily.

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