We have many opportunities to sense the power of God in nature. When the great thunderstorms roll up, and the lightning splits the sky above us, with thunder like the crack of doom, when flash follows flash, and explosion follows explosion, each one mightier than the last, and the wind rises with increasing violence—in our hearts is the whisper, "How much fiercer will it get, how much stronger can it get; is there a limit to this awful display of power?" And we do not know if there is a limit, but we know we are utterly helpless to stop or change it.
But God is over all.
Here we can feel our smallness and helplessness before God. Here all our illusions of strength and sufficiency wither, wilt, and vanish in the realization of our nothingness.
"What is man that Thou shouldst heed him?"
But let us stand also in a field of maize in flower, watching the sheen of sunlight on the leaves and the nodding tassels, remembering how, four days after we planted the grain, the soft green feathers pushed through the soil.
The boy there,
Staring at the bird-
Eyes alight, breath held,
Bare toes gripping the sand,
The boy there,
That's my son...
A sound from me
And he will turn,
Dart to me:
"Daddy, did you see?"
Philip Britts, 1948
Here all our pride of achievement and understanding dwindles to nothingness in the perception of a vital force, a wisdom that surrounds us, with the unspoken words I AM.
"I cannot believe in miracles," said a young man once to a woman who was preparing vegetables for cooking. She cut a cabbage in half and showed it to him, with all the pattern of the folded leaves, and asked, "Have you ever tried to make a cabbage?"
A young child believes in miracles, as a natural or normal part of life, because it sees the miracle in everything. And in that seeing, that seeing of miracles, to which our older eyes have become dim, the child is very near to God. Verily, unless we become as a little child, we cannot see the kingdom of God. Let us beware then of doing anything that can pull any child away from its vision, away from God. If ever we find that we have no time for the children, that we are too busy to talk to them, or too tired, let us consider well what is that business we are about--is it really more vital than to share time with a child, is it really more our Father's business?
It takes much less than a thunderstorm or a field of growing corn to make a child stand in wonder before God. Who has not seen a child transfixed with wonder at a butterfly, a beetle, or a mouse nest in the grass? And a corn plant, or a stalk of kafir, or a tall flowering reed is a thing to be carried aloft and waved in the sky: it is a banner, a torch, a lantern.
If we can capture some of this childlike astonishment, we shall learn more of the Kingdom. Let us not make the mistake of capitalist civilization by considering our human business the sum of life. This error is responsible for who knows how much need, how much starvation of soul, how much lack of light.