I remember my days of youth, attending summer camp, and the invigoration of the outdoors. Trees, streams, fresh air, birds, wildflowers, horses, night skies, campfires- ah God’s creation. Such a beautiful gift. But did you know there are many benefits of spending time in nature, including finding health, hope, joy, and peace?
Finding Health in Nature
Nature is like medicine.
“Research suggests that contact with nature can be beneficial … leading to improvements in mood, cognition, and health.”
In what ways are you ailing? While our need for medical doctors is obvious, exploring the outdoors is a great way to augment whatever treatment you are going through as well as being an inexpensive resource. Of course, check with your physician before embarking on exposure to the outdoors and God’s magnificent creatures, especially if your immune system is compromised.
Physical effects of nature
Nature has many positive effects on our bodies. First, it helps produce a protective element for our cardiovascular systems. Other benefits include stress reduction, lowered cortisol, lowered pulse, and lowered blood pressure. Just the smell of wood and the sound of a babbling brook brings about the same effects.
Spending time in nature increases physical activity, which helps reduce obesity and cardiovascular disease. For those experiencing chronic pain, another benefit is pain reduction. Nature is a therapeutic distraction, and increases circulation.
Psychological effects of nature
“As little as five minutes in a natural setting, whether walking in a park or gardening in the backyard, improves mood, self-esteem, and motivation.”
Nature has a calming effect on us. Even having a plant in a room helps decrease stress and anxiety. That is why so many hospitals, offices, and schools include plants in their decor.
Finding hope, joy, and peace in nature
“God’s creation can speak to us if we take the time to look and listen.” (Dr. David Jeremiah)
Nature is God’s handiwork, inspiring awe. The “sense of being in the presence of something greater than ourselves … fills us with wonder.” That my friend is what happens when you appreciate the intricacies of nature that come from a God who loves us. You can’t help but be in awe and wonder of our Creator. Science is just now catching up with what the Bible has been telling us all along. (Job 12:7-10, Romans 1:20, Psalm 19:1)
Learning from God’s creation gives us hope for the future, joy in the present, and peace regarding the past.
Finding hope in nature
Finding hope looks towards the future. As we see and appreciate the great detail of nature we realize that God is a God of detail. He fully understands our plight here on earth. He orchestrates details that make the negatives of life work out for good. We can trust God with our future because we see that He has been faithful to provide for the many creatures that live here. He will also provide for us. (Matthew 6:26-34).
Finding joy in nature
Finding joy is found in the present. God not only provides for our future, but He also provides for us now. Joy is akin to happiness, though the origins are totally different. Our senses are dazzed at times by the colors, fragrances, sounds, smells, and tastes of God’s creation.
Nature’s young are especially delightful: baby chickens, kitties, puppies, lambs, colts, calves, to name a few. And did I mention human babies? As they all play and explore their worlds, it brings enjoyment to the human psyche.
Finding peace in nature
Inner peace is often hard to achieve when we are plagued by our past. Yet God in His goodness provides relief from our past. Just as every day is a new slate in nature, so each day God will provide forgiveness to us. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22). As seeds die when they are planted, God brings forth new life in the following days. Seeds are an example to us of burying our past to find new life.
When you can’t get out in nature
Those who work full time inside a building or those who have physical limitations may find it hard to get out in God’s creation. If that is your case, try bringing nature inside. Fish tanks, house plants, and documentaries are a few things that can help you out.
“Several studies have found that a mere glimpse of nature from a window or even photographs of nature can improve people’s overall mood, mental health, and life satisfaction.”
An upcoming article will highlight 31 ways to find hope, joy, and peace in nature. Please check back for that. In the meantime, you can go to the Pinterest board “God’s world, our classroom.” When I am stuck inside and just want a quick “breath of fresh air”, I go to this board to feast my eyes on God’s exquisite designs.
I pray that you will begin finding health, hope, joy, and peace in nature. May you be in awe and wonder of our amazing Creator. Chris Tomlin has captured this feeling in his song, Indescribable. Take a listen and enjoy.
A gift of nature for you
The following scripture card is free, NO EMAIL REQUIRED. Simply click on the image to download.
If you are looking for further scripture cards or coloring pages, please go to the resource page.
- (Dr. David Jeremiah, Turning Point Magazine, September 2020, p. 10)