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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Our Father who 'Arts' in Heaven

Some of my favorite moments with the Lord have been when I've gone out to interact with Him in nature. When I was pastoring in Pennsylvania, I'd love to drive into the Allegheny National Forest to read my Bible, pray, and meditate as I sat on the side of a small mountain overlooking the Allegheny River.

That little patch of earth is called "Hearts Content," which is a very good name for such a place.

I felt His presence in a very special way another time when I visited the Grand Canyon. I arrived at the rim of the canyon and looked across, then down, down, down, down. At first, I was speechless. Then when my breath returned, all I could say was "glory to God."

I remember first sensing God in nature as a small child. In my hometown there's a beautiful place called Presque Isle State Park, which is a seven mile sandy peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie, creating a placid bay on one side and the mighty waves of an inland sea on the other. The land in between is a series of long fingers of sand lined up in rows with small lagoons dividing them. Over time, forests have grown up in the midst of these bands of windblown sand so that deer, fox, raccoons, and other animals make their homes along the edge of the numerous ponds.

Spending time in wondrous places like these always fills me with a sense of God's peace and joy. Scripture says:

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made... " (Romans 1:20 ESV)

I grew up in a family of seven children and when we were kids, my parents would crowd us into the van and take us down to Presque Isle. The lakeshore is situated on an angle, so it appears like the sun is sinking down into the water at sunset. In the summertime, my dad would come home from work and we would go down to the beach to catch the sunset.

Sitting on a weather-worn wooden picnic table, the August wind whipped through our hair as the soft sand gathered between our toes. Hugging each other as young families do, we would watch as the giant orange orb slowly descended into the rippling water – sending out vibrant rays of purple, gray, and orange across the dark greenish-blue water. I don't remember who first came up with it, but someone started saying, "Our Father, who 'arts' in heaven..." and we all chimed in.

As a little boy, I was surrounded by artwork. My father was a prolific portrait artist, so he was always working on another painting. The smell of oils, acrylics, and turpentine filled his studio. I knew him as "my father who 'arts' in Erie."

But it was those wonderful moments with my family out in nature that first planted the fire in my heart to also know my "Father who 'arts' in heaven."

I believe that life is a never-ending process of learning to know and love this God of wonders. If we are looking for Him, God will reveal Himself in any number of ways; through loving family members; through a pastor or friends at church; through the beauty of nature; through tragedy and sorrow, or through joy and triumph; through His wonderful Scriptures; and even through a glorious sunset.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1, ESV)

Copyright © Craig von Buseck, used with permission.

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