In the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (revered as sacred text by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called the “Mormon Church”) there is a scripture I have always loved and been drawn to; it is found in the book of Alma, chapter 30, verse 44, it reads, “…The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” I suppose I am drawn to this verse because I have always loved nature, and this scripture helps me realize why—nature testifies of God’s power and His love. In a book titled, Be Not Afraid—Only Believe, written by Ted L. Gibbons, published in 2009 by Cedar Fort, Inc. Ted tenderly explains how the reverence of nature can bless our souls in heavenly ways:
Is there a soul with eyes and a heart that could pass by such splendor with indifference? Do not all God’s children have a divine capacity to be both moved and inspired by the spectacular beauty and variety of His creations? We miss an opportunity to remind ourselves of the love of the Creator when we do not acknowledge those inspired feelings of gratitude and reverence. When we fail to perceive that the beauty and variety of the Creation are evidence of the love of God for us, we miss opportunities to increase our trust and our devotion, and to convey true thankfulness. “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious” (D&C 78:19).
Once we understand this truth, we learn to worship in new ways. When we are drawn upward by these divine gifts of beauty and variety we can be strengthened against every kind of discouragement and distress. The world itself will provide us with endless signposts pointing us toward heaven.
When we not only agree with the Maker that everything He has made is very good (Genesis 1:31) but also realize that this is so because of His love, we begin to have experiences like my own with the blue-winged grasshopper and the rain-drenched sunset. If we will only perceive that the beauty and variety that enfold us are nothing less than the footsteps of the Father, the shadow of the Son—the earthly confirmation of divine love—then our determination to go to Them with our trials will be more constant, and we will begin to feel—and perhaps even to write—words like these:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. (Psalm 19:1)
Earth with her ten thousand flow’rs,
Air, with all its beams and show’rs,
Heaven’s infinite expanse,
Sea’s resplendent countenance—
All around and all above
Bear this record. God is love (“God Is Love,” Hymns (Salt Lake City: Intellectual reserve, 1985), no. 87.)
Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heavenly Father created for me (“My Heavenly Father Loves Me,” Children’s Songbook (Salt Lake City: Intellectual reserve, 1989), no. 228.)
When thru the woods and forest glades I wander.
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,
How great thou art! (“How Great Thou Art,” Hymns (Salt Lake City: Intellectual reserve, 1985), no. 86.)
Every soul sings. We who inhabit this world of startling beauty and delightful variety have felt our souls sing. We have the challenge to remember to reflect these feelings upward in prayers of gratitude. If we can do that during our journey home, our eyes will be pleased and our hearts will be gladdened. Our souls will be enlivened. And we will come to know and love the Creators better than we have ever known or loved Them before. As we recognize that we are surrounded by invitations to seek Them in our hours of sorrow, we will be more inclined to do so. Our awareness of the manifestations of Their love in the world around us will be a continuing reminder to us that we always have a place to go when there is nowhere else to go (pages 37-39).
I invite you, next time you walk outside, to observe whatever piece of nature that you can and ponder the love that the Lord Jesus Christ has for you. I also invite you to learn more about Jesus Christ and His role as Creator by meeting with Mormon missionaries and by reading the Book of Mormon. I have done these things and I can testify that I know that Jesus is the Christ and through Him we can all be saved as we live His commandments.
Article written by Ashley Bell
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.