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Refreshing Our Souls in God’s Creation: A Conversation with Randy Smith

06/25/20

Shane Morris

What is it about getting out into creation that has the power to set us back on track? All it takes is a few days, or even less. Just a moment of getting out into the wild where our internal gas tank gets refilled. It’s more than just restful. A good nap will do that. There’s something we find in creation that resets all the little switches in our souls that get all mixed up by the daily grind.

Shane Morris talked with Randy Smith about the restorative power of God’s creation. Smith is senior pastor at Grace Bible Church in Allenwood, New Jersey and the camera man and adventure behind the America’s National Park’s YouTube channel. Shane asked Smith how he came to seek out this refreshing work in the natural world.

Below is an edited excerpt, but you can also listen to their entire conversation.

Here is Randy Smith:

I was thinking of that great quote by Eric Liddell the track athlete that said, “God made me fast and when I run, I feel his pleasure.” I experienced that right away in creation.

I went on my first trip in ’95. I’m a believer at that point, and I just felt God’s pleasure. I felt like I was in my environment. I felt like I was in God’s world seeing Him in a way that I never experienced Him before.

When you back it up a little bit as you go through life, you start realizing you need to develop your priorities. You need to find out who you are, what’s important to you, where your gifts are, how God has made you different from other people, what God has called you to do.

That is a responsibility. As a Christian we have continually to be examining ourselves and making sure our life is lining up with God’s direction for us. What I always see it as is, for all of us as believers, that God is of course on top of the pyramid. He is not part of the pyramid; He is the pyramid and all things are done for Him.

Then below that is family, of course number one, and then my career and church life, but as a pastor those merge together quite a bit. It just became something that I viewed where I can not only connect with my family going up that pyramid if that makes sense but also having that pyramid terminate with God’s glory. I accomplish God’s glory, desire to live for God’s glory, while ministering to and creating memories with my family, doing something that I enjoy doing – to me that is the best of all worlds.

What’s important for us a year from now, 100 years from now, 1,000 years from now? It’s investing in other people. It’s worshiping God because really that’s all that matters when it’s said and done. Those are the things that are eternal. The national park adventures really accomplish that for me.

I think what happens is that when we get out in nature, we realize that life is bigger than we are. When we get out in creation – I use that word almost always when I speak in my videos, I talk about creation –we see that things are bigger.

It’s not just that things are bigger, that the world is bigger than me and my problems, but really it points to a God that is bigger. All creation as we know is there to reflect God’s glory, and we call this general revelation. The more I can immerse myself in creation, the more it is a mirror that points back to the greatness of God.

We see God, and it resets our life. It gets us back to putting things in perspective. We have a tendency even as believers to just really think too much about ourselves. Pride is our biggest weakness; it’s the root of all of our sin, it’s that love affair of self.

When we can get out in creation, we realize “I shouldn’t think of myself more than I am. I shouldn’t think of myself less than I am.” Because again, we are the apex of God’s creation. We are the masterpiece in that sense of God’s creation. Human beings are beautiful, but I just need to think of myself less. In a sense, it’s the art of self-forgetfulness; just thinking of me less.

Creation really does reset that for all of us. It gets my mind off of me; it allows me to recalibrate and understand that my priority is God and that I am just a small microcosm in this universe. When you consider it in that perspective, yet one where God loves me so much that he would send His Savior to die for me, when we really understand that from a biblical perspective, it puts us where we need to be in life. When we chase that, it seems like all the rest of this world then chases us back.

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