Summer’s glory is on full display in August, and wonder is waiting for us with every summer stroll, swim, or stargazing session. Every moment we spend in nature has the potential to inspire us with awe – as long as we’re paying attention.
Psalm 65:8 celebrates the wonder we can find anywhere in nature: “The world earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.” In Wake Up to Wonder, we see how God’s wonder permeates all of nature, so that any experience we have outside can become an encounter with awe. August gives us abundant opportunities to discover wonder outdoors.
Nature helps us find peace by showing us awe that directs our attention to God. We’re living in stressful times as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, with too many people still unvaccinated, allowing the virus to keep spreading and mutating into variants. This situation must be heartbreaking for God, who calls us all to choose well-being and to love our neighbors. Anyone with access to a vaccine has the power to become part of the solution. I’m dismayed and frustrated by seeing people neglect that opportunity. When pandemic stress starts to get to me, I pray – and seek out wonder to shift my focus from the circumstances to God. I can’t do anything but pray and encourage others to do what’s right. But God’s power to inspire people and make positive change happen is unlimited. Wonder walks in nature never fail to help me access God’s peace in the midst of stress.
Stress doesn’t need to overwhelm us. By pursuing experiences of wonder, we can shift our perspective and experience peace and joy. Awe pulls our attention fully into each present moment, which helps us transcend stressful circumstances and focus on the source of awe – God – who can give us peace. Wherever we are in nature – hiking through woods, gardening in our yards, or watching a sunset – God will meet us there. The wonder of nature resonates deep in our souls, reminding us that a powerful Creator cares for us.
This month, spend as much time as you can outside. Let yourself fully focus on awe-inspiring moments you discover there – from bees pollinating flowers by day to stars shining by night. Cherish each moment as a gift from a wondrous God whose love for you has no limits!