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Morning over the bay

The Force Behind Nature

Philip Britts

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  • Brajraj Sengar

    Nice article !!!!! GOD, Ultimate designer or force behind nature Only fools think that there is no intelligence behind nature.

  • deborah

    FANTASTIC ! I LOVE EVERYTHING BY BRITTS AND APPRECIATE YOUR ARTICLES SO MUCH! THANK YOU !

  • francis wanyeki

    Wow, this reminds me of my Sunday school GOD, this is the God that i always like to have with me. When i was a child growing up in the rural area, every stone, insect, plant, bird name them amazed me so much that i would sometimes forget where i was going and just marvel at their beauty How foolish we became when we try to explain the things that happen and try to concoct scientific explanation,simply because we do not stop to ask ourselves this simple question 'who is the force behind nature'

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.

TOUCAN

The boy there,
Standing, staring,
Staring at the bird-
Eyes alight, breath held,
Bare toes gripping the sand,
Wonder-held.
The boy there,
Standing, staring,
That's my son...
A sound from me
And he will turn,
Dart to me:
"Daddy, did you see?"

Philip Britts, 1948

Here is life, here is something far beyond our greatest achievements. Here is a mystery we do not understand. The more we know about it, the greater is the mystery. As we stand there we realize how the roots are drawing water and nutrients from the soil; how countless micro-organisms are preparing those nutrients from the tissues of other dead plants; how the leaves are taking carbon from the air and manufacturing starch and sugar and cellulose and vitamins; how tiny things so small that no one has seen them yet, passed on from parent to progeny, are controlling the ability of the plant to do this. The more we realize all this, the more keenly we are aware of this mystery, the deeper we have pursued knowledge of these things, the greater must be our wonder and humility before the mystery of life.

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.

driftwood and shells
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