All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “ Abba, Father. ” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.
J. Ellsworth Kalas, adapted from chapter 1:
There’s an old hymn you may be familiar with that contains these words: “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” (Maltbie D. Babcock, “This Is My Father’s World”; 1901). It is true still today that “all nature sings,” but it is increasingly difficult to catch the melody. Almost anywhere we go, nature’s voice is now muted by the sound of traffic and assorted electronic devices. Those who go out to walk or jog are likely to wear a device that keeps them in touch with news or music or speech—so that, intentionally or not, they have shut out nature’s sound and dulled its influence.
Which brings me to the point of this book. I rejoice greatly in the “green” movement that has made new millions conscious of the wonder of our creation and the blessed necessity of caring for it passionately. This is a magnificent step in the right direction, and it puts quality content into what might otherwise be little more than sentimental feelings. But I want us to go farther than that. I want us not simply to see—and indeed, to be grateful for—the wonders of nature. I want us to go beyond nature’s exquisite beauty until we learn some of the lessons it would teach us, lessons about both life and God. When nature sings (as it does every moment) its melody draws us to God, if only we listen with our whole being.
This book will contain a discussion guide.