I rarely notice squirrels. When they climb Rita's birdfeeder and scatter sunflower seeds all over the corner of our patio, I curse them mildly. But if I see one perched on a tree branch, I certainly don’t squeal with amazement, “Look a squirrel!” That’s because here in the Midwest, they’re everywhere.
On the other hand, when a business trip took me to south Texas, I slammed on my brakes to marvel at an armadillo waddling along the roadside. Thankfully, my host in the passenger seat was wearing his seatbelt. He laughed a bit before saying, “Really? You almost killed us for an armadillo? We’ll probably see five more in the next two miles.”
I’ve not visited Australia. (It’s on my bucket list.) But I understand that, once you get out of the cities, kangaroos are more of a nuisance than an attraction. They frequently tend to make life difficult for drivers, farmers, and golfers. If a kangaroo leaped across your path in North America, you’d tell that story for the rest of your life. In Australia, not so much.
The lesson seems to be that we take for granted the things we see everyday. That’s not surprising because . . . well . . . we see them everyday. We lose appreciation for things that are familiar like local wildlife, the ability to tie your shoes, a full cupboard, windows, our five senses, or the seasons.
But wait a second! Those things actually are quite astounding. Have you ever really watched a squirrel climb down a tree or jump from one little branch to another little branch? Incredible.
And how is it possible for you to tie your shoelaces without thinking about it? Loop, swirl, push through, grab, snap. But you do it!
Plus, there’s food in your kitchen cupboard! And if you run out, you can go to the store for more!
And think about glass! It’s solid, but you can see through it! What? How? Wow!
Finally don’t even get me started on the concept of tasting, seeing, feeling, hearing, and smelling. Or the way the earth tilts at a rotational axis of exactly 23.5 degrees to provide us with four seasons.
Friends, I think we need to spend more time being amazed. I think we need to – not just notice creation – but follow the example of Psalm 145:5, “I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles.” And make sure that includes the miracle of everyday stuff we take for granted.
Atheism is in vogue these days. We listen politely as scientists explain how the universe came into being. How refraction creates a rainbow. How armadillos survived because evolution gave them armor plates. Evolution led to the ligaments in our fingers that allow us to grasp, twist, and twirl a shoelace. The tilt of the earth is a happy accident.
There is a grain of truth woven into most scientific arguments. But is it unreasonable to consider the possibility of a master designer? There is no possible way random chaotic units of matter could have just fallen neatly into place to create this amazing, beautiful, strategically-cohesive universe.
If you believe otherwise, you haven’t been paying attention. Creation points to God. As Romans 1:20 explains, “For 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.”
My personal conclusion is that God is designer, builder, and master. And anyone who fails to get that idea must be distracted. Either they are bored with nature and take it for granted, or they are so busy trying to prove there is no God that they miss the miraculous and generous gifts he has given to all humankind.
Let’s not take anything for granted. Neither the routine, nor the astounding.
God is present and visible in the smallest one-celled creature and the universe itself. If you look, you’ll see. It's God's glory.
Twentieth century author and theologian G. K. Chesterton wrote, “We should always endeavor to wonder at the permanent thing, not at the mere exception. We should be startled by the sun, and not by the eclipse. We should wonder less at the earthquake, and wonder more at the earth.”