What do you think of when you hear the name Saint Francis of Assisi? Perhaps you picture a garden statue holding a small bowl of birdseed. Maybe you remember a story about Saint Francis preaching to the animals.
A friend of mine attends a church that holds special blessings for pets on the day of Saint Francis’s feast. Each year, all the church members are invited to bring their pets to the church lawn at 2:00 p.m. to receive their blessing. Except for cats. Cats come at noon!
Saint Francis was more than birdseed and pet blessings. He strongly believed that God reveals himself to us in his creation. Francis wrote his “Canticle of Creation” on his deathbed. Years of practicing poverty and walking the countryside preaching had left him sick and blind, but in the “Canticle of Creation,” Francis saw in his mind’s eye God’s goodness in all he had made. The sun, moon, and stars; fire and water; even the earth itself.
Have you ever considered that God is speaking to you through his creation? The psalmist certainly believed it was true. Read the first few verses of Psalm 19: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (vv. 1–4).
Sometimes, on a particularly beautiful night, I take a blanket outside, lie down, and look up at the stars, flung like diamonds across inky velvet, and this passage fills my heart with praise. I am in awe of the infinite power of our God who placed each and every star in the heavens and calls them all by name. But the beautiful truth about our Father is that this same mighty God thinks about and cares for you and me (Psalm 8:4).
Another way I love to listen to God through his creation is to just get outside and take a walk with him. As I look at all he has made I am reminded of his great love and faithfulness for me and my heart is filled with praise. As I walk and pray, I soon find that God is speaking to me about the deepest wounds of my heart and giving me guidance about tough decisions I am facing.
I wonder what God wants to say to you today through his creation. Open your window and watch the birds for a while. Slip outside in the darkness of night and gaze at the sky above. Sit by a creek and let the cool water run through your fingers. Turn off your computer, lace up your shoes, and head out the front door to take a walk with God…
God is speaking of his love, power, and majesty through all he has made.
Through the beauty of his creation, God sings over us.
Five Minutes in the Word
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:3–4
Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20