angel choirs sing his praise
His voice was like the roar of the rushing waters,
and the land was radiant with his glory.
Ezekiel 43:2 NIV
My husband often suggests we drop by one of our local parks whenever we’re feeling the stress of life tugging too tightly on our spirits.
I’d never given it much thought how well nature soothed my soul until the fall of 1998. My husband returned home one day that autumn to find me distraught. I was reading a book to our toddler son who was snuggled up beside me on the sofa while our eight-month-old son napped in his crib. But despite the cozy setting, it was obvious by my facial expression something dreadful had happened.
I waited until our toddler was out of hearing range and then I said, “I got some terrible news today. A police officer phoned and said my dad was found dead in his suite.”
My husband’s eyes widened with alarm. “What happened?”
“They don’t know yet. He may have had heart failure. I can’t believe he’s gone—he was only 62. But I remember he said he was going to go see his doctor… because… because he wasn’t feeling well. I should have phoned him last night. I thought about it. Apparently he never made it to his appointment.”
“Your dad knew you loved him.”
“I’m glad I always hugged him when I saw him. I know he appreciated it… he… he always opened his arms in anticipation.” My heart slumped into my stomach.
My husband wrapped me up in a hug, and I leaned against his chest feeling like the whole world was crumbling around my shocked mind and body. Tears stayed trapped behind the stunned numbness that had hijacked every nerve inside me. “I guess we’ll have to leave tomorrow morning for the long drive. I’ll need to make proper arrangements.”
“Come, let’s get out of the house and go for a walk,” he said.
We bundled up the boys and headed to our favorite hiking trail that ran alongside a river that led to the ocean. With each sorrowful step toward the sandy beach at the end of the hike, my spirit was resuscitated bit by bit.
I sighed. “Thanks for bringing us here. It’s exactly what I needed.”
Nature walks are what I crave when life collapses around me. It’s my own Garden of Gethsemane. I knew there was no way out of this situation, so I inhaled the delicious salty air and resolved to rest in the knowledge that the Lord of all creation foresaw the day of my dad’s death, and God was going to help me through this valley.
Only days before, an elderly woman at church had gently placed her hands on my shoulders and said, “I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but I sense God telling me to let you know everything is in His hands.”
Despite an autopsy, we never did find out why my father died suddenly, but I did find an open Bible on his kitchen table reminding me of the day he walked forward during an altar call at a meeting we attended with him. So the one thing I did know for sure was my dad had gone ahead of me through the “gates of splendor”.
And when I struggled to sleep at night I repeated the church lady’s words over and over to myself, “Everything is in His hands.”
Do you feel closer to God in nature than you do in a shopping mall? I sure do.
Nature Blessings ~ Wendy
The pictures I’ve shown here are from Filberg Park in Comox. It’s our new go-to park since we moved into town six years ago.The God of all creation is able to help us through valleys. #faith grief Click To Tweet Creation is radiant with the glory of God. #photography #blog #haiku #memoir Click To Tweet
PS – Here’s a link to an excellent & mightily encouraging podcast for writers: