Words by Jordan Russell
A couple months ago, I watched a National Geographic special on jaguars in the Amazon. What fascinated me about the segment was that the wildlife biologists knew so much about these creatures, despite rarely—if ever—seeing them in person. Jaguars are extremely elusive animals who have a way of evading the human eye. And yet, by tracking paw prints, markings on trees and feces samples, these biologists were able to know exactly which jaguar had passed through a certain area and even the animal’s current health.
What impressed me even more than the biologists’ ability to gain insights on a creature they had yet to personally see was their joy when they came upon these findings. Like a man stumbling across buried treasure, their faces would light up as they saw evidence of the thing they so diligently sought after. Their findings were the fuel that kept pushing them towards their end goal. They were determined to intimately know and understand jaguars, despite not being able to physically see them.
“As I reflect on nature and all the unexplainable creations it includes, I begin to see God’s presence in it all.”
I wish my building a relationship with God matched the example of these wildlife biologists. However, to be honest I actually want more. Don’t we all deserve proof? Isn’t there at least part of us that wants to witness enormous hands part open the skies to reveal a shining heavenly face—declaring that God is real, without question?
And yet, as I’m writing this, I feel the gentle whisper produced by the wind blowing through the trees. I watch an army of ants build an anthill in the dirt—a reminder of the world that exists at my feet. I lift my head to the sky to see the birds soaring through the air; the same creatures that inspired humans to join them in airplanes.
In these moments I dare to quiet myself from the noise of life and open my ears to all the splendour of our planet—and I feel stupid. Stupid for demanding evidence in one specific way when God has already provided it in a billion completely unique ways. I mean, who taught a spider to spin its web? Who placed the sun so precisely in space so as to provide life on Earth?
As I reflect on nature and all the unexplainable creations it includes, I begin to see God’s presence in it all. I see God in the elegance of a swan, His grandeur in a mountain expanse, His attention to detail in every interconnected ecosystem. Through these aspects of creation, I see His unique attributes. Like a wildlife biologist, learning to see a jaguar through the evidence it leaves behind, I learn to see God in the magnificent world He has created for us.
“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.” – Romans 1:20