Seeing God’s work in everything

Hello, it’s been some time since I’ve been on this forum.

Some thoughts I’ve been having recently.

I’ve previously used Jesus’ statement regarding the birds of the air and lilies of the field as a justification for enjoying nature.

However, increasingly it feels like I’ve moved on from that, towards seeing God’s work and grace as something present in all things.

This increasingly makes it seem to me like I don’t need to take appreciate God in the wonders of creation, the whales, colourful birds and mountains of the world, and instead can equally find God in the small things. Wood, stone, bugs, even the materials which my bed is made from.

Whilst I think it is good from a spiritual perspective to ‘see God everywhere’ so to speak, I worry that it may actually make it harder for me to find God in the most enjoyable things in the world. We are called, as Christians, to do all things to the Glory of God.

The question is, when I enjoy an animal which I prefer over others, am I truly doing it for God’s glory, or am I doing it for my own enjoyment, since I could easily find God in a slug just as well as an elephant?

I don’t want this to be something that bugs me, since I think it easily could, which is why I come here tp ask for advice.

My tentative thoughts are that maybe if elephants (my favourite animal, which I hope to see in a few weeks, in a reputable sanctuary, when I go on holiday) aren’t ‘objectively’ more amazing, they may still be (and are) subjectively. And that’s okay. I can still thank God for what he has made, even if I could (with some digging) find him ‘objectively’ in anything.

Perhaps the answer I need is staring me right in the face in 1 Corinthians 10:31:

“If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?“


Am I worrying too much?

  • You could always try the *St, Francis of Assisi" path, even if on a temporary or intermittent basis.
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I’m actually discerning becoming a Franciscan friar, as things are

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As of where I am now, I distinguish between “what I can objectively learn from nature about God” and “what I can subjectively thank God for”.

And I can easily use both to the glory of God.

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  • My spirit has often been willing, but my flesh has always been weak. Lord’s power to ya.
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I think that dilemmas such as the above are a result of attempting to explain God scientifically. One cannot use scienitific observations to explain God or even know him. The heavens declare the glory of God, that is true, but they do not help us know him other than to illustrate how big he is compared to us. I dont think i have ever looked at a sumo wrestler and thought of his size, wow i have an intimate knowledge of the person behind that size!

Maybe i should put this another way, I believe that philosophy drives desire and need. We fulfill that need using tools such as science…but these tools are just that, they are tools and nothing more. If all one does is seek philosophical absolution in tools, one is going to probably struggle because tools are as imperfect as those who built them (in this case, us).

One must never ignore the reality of sin and how it has corrupted everything…the only incorruptible thing in this universe is God and in our current state, we can never know Him except from scripture.

It seems to me that perhaps there is a void within you that isnt being filled…and it may be because you are looking at it from the wrong perspective…ie the philosophical questions are not being addressed adequately and i would suggest that a study of the scientific approach to Christianity experiences massive philosophical voids because it attempts to do away with the idea of biblical inspiration and inerrancy and that leads to pages being ripped out of the bible and its overall theme destroyed.

I whole-heartedly endorse enjoying nature and thanking God that you are able to enjoy what you can, rejoicing at that enjoyment as a gift. Enjoy what gifts God inclines your heart to enjoy. Worrying over not enjoying some one thing rather than another is needless and ruins the gift. If God wants to expand your enjoyment of his world, he will.

But Jesus told us to learn from the lily and the bird. So, we can do that as well. Kierkegaard wrote at least 5 sermons related to Mt 6:24–34. Three of them are related to the post below over in Pithy Quotes. I think they’re lovely and challenging.

Maybe you could simply say, for instance, “I like your elephants, Lord!”

I have at times just been consciously thankful to God for my eyes – their not always having been problem-free – with which to see the cool things God has made, from materials to mountains, from pseudoscorpions to giraffes.

Maybe being thankful to God is what it’s all about, or at least a big part of it, and even for the hard things. Ann Voskamp develops it well in her excellent book on thankfulness, eucharisteo.

  One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

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Well that’s the thing. My worry is that when God (or God’s work) can be found in ‘everything’, even things which may, on the surface seem bad, is there any need to rely on what we subjectively enjoy?

I think it’s an interesting question, which should be dealt with.

My main worry is that it could make me miserable, and I don’t want that.

This is a great thread @MelekRimaye, thanks for starting it. I’ve been on my own journey of discovering God in nature and appreciating his wonderful work in unlikely corners.

I guess I would respond to your question with a question (I know, annoying, sorry, but bear with me). To what extent is the landscape painter ignoring the wonder of God’s image by painting portraits?

Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with preferences. Preferences are a reflection of God’s infinity in limited humanity. No one human can reflect the depth of all that God loves, and so each of us reflects that differently through our preferences. One prefers portraits, the other landscapes. One delights in God in the whale and worm, another through books and basketballs. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. What is wrong is when we say that what we love is better than what another loves, or worse they are less for what they love. (Yes, sin corrupts our loves and preferences, but I’m talking from an “all things being equal” perspective.

Moreover, I don’t think our preferences will change much in the New Creation. I think we’ll be able to appreciate more than we can now, but I think ultimately, I might never enjoy a matcha green tea as much as my friend who adores them. However, I will perfectly love that he loves them, and he will perfectly love my love of coffee.

I think, therefore, you are there with your reflection on the objective vs. the subjective. I objectively think that haiku is the greatest of all poetic expressions, but this is not objectively true. I think an elephant hawk moth is more beautiful than an elephant. You would disagree, but our disagreement is subjective. In God’s eyes, each is an objectively beautiful reflection of his glorious creativity.


I mean, I’m not necessarily dissing the Hobbit if I prefer LOTR. Or dissing David because I prefer the Sistine Chapel Ceiling.

At the end of the day, God’s work being shown in all things doesn’t mean it’s ‘equally’ shown in all things.

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Just one question.

Where does scripture tell us not to enjoy ourselves (at all)? IOW what is wrong with having a preference? I like strong cheddar cheese. But that doesn’t negate a good Stilton or Wensleydale.

Our reactions, enjoyment, or even distress, are personal, They do not change the existence of the stimulus.



Of course we can enjoy ourselves, but things need to be ordered towards God’s glory as the priority first, don’t they?

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Interesting question. My first reaction is to think that we shouldn’t be ‘relying’ on anything temporal, and that we are to trust our heavenly Father in every way and for every thing. Where did I just mention this… ah:

I don’t want that for you either, or for any of us! :slightly_smiling_face: It’s not easy to be thankful for everything, especially the hard things. In my experience, Christians are quick to cite 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (the two verses preceding it are okay too):

Give thanks IN all circumstances

That’s fairly easy, because you can pretty much always be thankful things aren’t worse. Like, whatever you’re dealing with, at least you’re not in Ukraine.

But this one is frequently overlooked:

…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20

That’s not something you should trot out to someone who is in the midst of a trial though (and it’s hard enough for myself when I’m having difficulty in one way or another!)! I’m pretty much always thankful in retrospect (not always for things that I have said or done though!), even the hard things. (I’ve been struggling somewhat in how to encourage @adamjedgar whose wife is enduring chemo currently.) The One Thousand Gifts book I mentioned above starts out with her toddler sister being fatally injured after being run over in their farmyard when the author was only five. Oh, and the ‘dare’ in the subtitle was to herself first, to make a list. (And of course, that providence and ‘co-instance’ are involved didn’t hurt my feelings any. ; - )


Some eschew or denounce John Piper without first gleaning some choice thoughts from him, and early in his seminal book Desiring God he makes a nice little edit to the first question in the Westminster Catechism, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him by enjoying him forever.”

I think the only way to do that well is to remember that this life is temporary, as are its gifts, including friends and family.

“…acknowledging they were foreigners and strangers on earth. Hebrews 11:13b

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Hebrews 13:14

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from
God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are
away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

But our citizenship is in heaven… Philippians 3:20

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

And of course, Philippians 4:4 (easy to say!) –

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

So here’s the conundrum.

That God had poured his grace into all creation, not just the beautiful mountains and animals, but also the very materials which my door and bedding were made from, is pretty clear.

I therefore conclude that God can be found in everything. The small as well as the big. The “ugly” as well as the beautiful.

Which to my mind may disuage me from observing and enjoying nature, if I could get the same spiritual benefit from absolutely anything. It makes me wonder if I’m truly doing it for the glory of God anymore (1 Cor 10:31), or just for me own pleasure?

I could say that we can see God in all things, but personally connect to some things more.

Indeed, just because God is present in all things doesn’t mean we have to consciously search for him in all things, it may just mean we ‘can’ find him in anything.

My question is whether we are ‘limiting God’ by only searching for him in a few things.

Which may actually be a silly worry. It’s like saying we can’t consider the bread and wine at Holy Communion to be any more holy than other matter.

Christianity inherently suggests some matter is more holy than the rest.

I don’t even know why I worry.

I guess I need help dealing with my worries.

I’m known for saying facetiously “I don’t worry – I’m a Christian!” :wink: But in all seriousness, I am also known for saying (as do many others),

The most frequent mandate in the Bible is “Do not be afraid” or one of its several variations – “Fear not!”, “Be anxious for nothing”, “Fret not”, and the like.

Why doesn’t it come down to trusting God as our Father, and Jesus as our elder Brother and Friend?

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Seems to me that you are over thinking.

Clearly, God is central in your life and thinking, so, let go the worries. There is no right and wrong here.

I do not see how you can limit God if you see Him everywhere



There is wrong however in being disobedient and fretting when we are explicitly told not to so often (and given good reason why we shouldn’t!)!

And this helps how?

I have seen no sign of disobedience in this conversation