Every parent has witnessed a child’s twinkling eyes as their 5 year-old approaches with her hands behind her back. “I have a surprise for you!” she says through a wide grin. “I made it myself!”
Focusing with laser intensity on her parents’ eyes with the hope of holding their gaze she says, “Are you ready?”
And out from hiding comes a painted plaster bird or a tin-foil ornament. Her parents oooh and aaah over the wonder of this creation, and the child smiles with a sense of ownership and pride. The fact that she is willing to give it away is true love indeed.
I wonder if God feels that way about all he’s made, from invisible atoms to immense stars. Master Creator that he is, he’s probably deeply attached to every piece of the universe as its Designer. He owns it all. And yet he’s given all of its parts to us in an expression of true love.
Last week I found myself walking through the glass-walled rooms of the Frederik Meijer Botanical Gardens, a wonderland of all things green and growing. Browsing through a maze of greenhouses, I felt like a child on a treasure hunt, searching for each wonder pictured in my brochure. Even the children’s garden dusted off the hidden kid in me.
Also fascinating was the people-parade, each person charmed by endless botanical wonders. The plants and flowers were a fascination to everyone from youngsters in strollers to oldsters in wheelchairs, who all chose this as their go-to place on a cool, overcast day.
I’d like to think they were there because God’s work is too spectacular to resist. Although Frederik Meijer was the benefactor of the greenhouses and acreage, God provided the filler. Without his broad array of happy plants, the whole venture would be lifeless.
Some Scriptures tell us God created with words alone, but I like to imagine him more involved, ingeniously designing everything from Azaleas to Zinnias. Might he have envisioned a bird not yet created while fashioning the Bird of Paradise? Or thought of Bethlehem as he shaped the first Star Fruit? Or pondered the food chain when putting together the Venus Fly Trap? Or sighed as he crafted the Bleeding Heart?
Surely he’s pleased as he watches people of all ages roam a garden bursting with his creativity, appreciating it as a living art gallery. But none of us need to buy entrance into a botanical garden to value what God has made. His artwork surrounds us, and there’s no better time than spring to express gratitude.
Thinking back to creation immediately after he’d made the world, God didn’t hide it behind his back but eagerly gave it away as soon as he’d made the first human being. Might he have delivered it with a twinkle in his eye?
I’m sure of it.
God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours…” God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:29, 31)