I have often heard the phrase, “stop and smell the roses.” I have an understanding of what that means, but until recently I didn’t really understand why I would need to do it.
I have two small children, I work full time, and I pastor a church. All of this, together with several other responsibilities, lead to me being a very busy person. Suffice it to say that I haven’t taken the time to stop for much of anything lately. That is, until I was driving down a country road and a question fell over me. I turned to my wife and asked her, “do you think this view is beautiful?” She responded that she did, indeed, think it was beautiful. I followed that up with saying that I wondered how many people would think it to be a beautiful view. She replied that she thought many people probably would think it to be beautiful subconsciously.
This set me to thinking. Could it really be that we leave such things to the subconscious? How does this change the way we view the world around us?
The sight was very beautiful to me, and I thought on this as the barren trees that lined the road whizzed by my view. Each tree had such intricate branches. Although it seemed to be such a lifeless view, with the brown grass and leafless trees, I still felt that I could see the hand of God at work in His creation. I wonder if we all to often miss that as we hurry about our days. I feel that I have missed it, missed seeing my Father at work in creation around me. The psalmist proclaimed that nature reminded us of God at every turn. Consider here Psalm 19:1-6:
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.
There is no speech; there are no words;
their voice is not heard.
Their message has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a groom coming from the bridal chamber;
it rejoices like an athlete running a course.
It rises from one end of the heavens
and circles to their other end;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
“The heavens declare the glory of God” proclaims the Psalmist. You get a sense that the Psalmist saw God’s handiwork wherever he looked, and that he is brought to praise God all the more. It is this that I think we cheat ourselves out of as we go about our days only subconsciously acknowledge the beauty around us. God’s hand is ever at work in creation, and should we look at its vastness, complexity and beauty, I think we will have a greater sense of reverence and awe for the One who made it.
Finally, I am reminded of the old hymn How Great Thou Art. Stuart K. Hine starts with declaring,
“Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed
What a wonderful testament to God for the many wonders He has made, and continues to make, as He takes care of all of creation. Looking at the world in this way has begun to remind me, as I look at the world around me, that God is indeed in control, and if He can handle everything that I see and don’t see, then I am quite safe in His capable, loving hands. I would encourage everyone one of you to stop for more than just a whiff of roses, stop and worship our Great God and King by acknowledging all that is beautiful around you.