Imagine if you were the creator of the Earth, with all of its breathtaking beauty, and gave each living creature the gift of life.
For every human, you provided a book of your promises that gives a detailed description of how they are to live. And then, you sent your only Son to sacrifice his life and raised him from the dead to redeem the souls of all who would believe. Your invitation to deliver those who would believe from the bondage of sin and welcome them to live with you in heaven forever is beyond words.
As you patiently wait for the masses to respond, you notice that only a few individuals actually have a desire to know you and even fewer are showing an appreciation for your offer. What would you do? Of course, you would be disappointed but you gave them free will to live however they want. You will just have to let them decide their own path.
Even though mankind has the choice to make decisions, I am relieved to know that God rules on his throne, is in total control and nothing can keep us from his love. The Bible declares that his mercy endures forever, and whether the masses will admit it or not, we are all very fortunate to receive his grace and patience.
I was looking through a world atlas the other day with all the many different places on our planet that are filled with such awe-inspiring beauty and astonishing creatures. The rainforest of the Congo River basin and the gigantic Sahara Desert that covers nearly a third of the African continent and then on to the wonders of the oceans that are another astonishing realm of bewilderment. The vastness of nature is overwhelming, much like the mysteries of the universe are beyond our imagination.
Then I noticed the title, "Our World," and wondered, "Is it really?" Yes, the Earth is our habitation in the sense that we are temporarily camped out here and allowed to enjoy everything it has to offer. But in reality, God is the rightful owner and generously gives us the privilege to be an invited guest.
Psalm 24:1 says, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof: the world and they that dwell there." This statement is quite different from the perspective of many humans who have aggressively staked their claim. It's remarkable how some individuals actually believe a real-estate deed proves they are the rightful owner without humbly considering who gave them the privilege to occupy and use the resources.
How often do we appreciate that each breath of oxygen was created and given by his kindness so that our lungs would not collapse? Every clean glass of water we drink was made by God as a gracious gift to satisfy our body's demand for hydration. The thermostat for the atmosphere is monitored by his hand in order that we might survive deadly temperature fluctuations, and it's his law of gravity that keeps everything perfectly balanced and in place.
Though most humans think they are strong and in control, in reality, we are very fragile and totally dependent on his compassion every moment.
According to the Bible, God is not only the maker of all things but willingly turned mankind loose upon his beautiful paradise even though he realized how uncaring and destructive they can be. He knew that humanity would pollute, deplete and ruin his masterpiece with their greed and selfishness. Not only would they abuse it, but many arrogantly deny that he is not the author and designer who spoke it all into existence.
It is so breathtaking to witness whales and elephants moving gracefully with such wonder and magnificence. The honor to watch a glorious sunrise or to walk along a sun-drenched beach and feel the majestic power of the sea is given for all of us to admire, respect and be grateful for his love.
It's truly sad when humans declare how the Almighty God is not a real person and that everything we see somehow evolved from nothing.
How could anyone not be humbled with a sense of reverence and adoration to this divine architect who is called the Alpha and the Omega? "The sea is his and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, and let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker" (Psalm 95:5-6).
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyholland ministries.com.