The sunset was mesmerizing. Opalescent hues of coral and gold swirled above the tree line causing my spirit to smile. Stepping from the car I paused to breathe in the rain rinsed air. My front yard flowers were moist from the afternoon shower and my world felt pleasant and inviting. Surrounded by lush marshes and vibrant plants, it’s easy to take natural beauty for granted. Yet, the delicacy of a hummingbird and the regal bearing of my neighborhood palm trees simply astound me. Truly, this is my Father’s world.
That’s the title of an old hymn. Do you know it? Perhaps you’ve read about the author of the lyrics, Maltbie D. Babcock, an esteemed Presbyterian minister born in 1858 in Syracuse, New York. When he pastored in Lockport, New York, his habit was to take long walks, marveling at the beauty of upstate New York and the Niagara Escarpment. It surprised me to learn, however, that Reverend Babcock experienced much personal loss and died at the age of 42. Despite the tragic events of his life, his appreciation of God’s imminence remains through the centuries to encourage our souls today.
Here are some of his lyrics penned in the 1901 poem “This Is My Father’s World”:
This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres….
This is my Father's world: he shines in all that's fair; in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere…
This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!
As we celebrate Father’s Day today, I pray we will honor our Heavenly Father who has provided all good things for our enjoyment; remembering that despite the darkness and uncertainty of current geo-political issues, we can choose to “look up” instead of despair. May we never forget that though mankind may make a mess of things, God is ultimately in control. He longs to redeem our lives and the legacy of nations, if only we will seek Him.
Every Father’s Day I’m thankful for the fathers I know, and eager to brag on God who blesses me with their love. His masterful touch brings beauty to situations and relationships. He is always worthy of praise! So as His church, may we bless Him by what we say and do, bringing a smile to His heart everyday.