Before becoming a failing farmer, I lived in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Nashville. I was a city girl. I was an apartment renter. Then, a suburban townhouse dweller. The “outdoors” for me meant the beach or the four feet of grass between the sidewalk and the parking lot. I knew food came from Publix and Blue Coast Burrito and I didn’t think it through past that. How did it get there? From tex-mex plants? Maybe cowboys?
So, honestly, I didn’t think much about the earth at all until I moved to a place where I’m surrounded by nature. My husband and I recently moved to a farm, for reasons I still don’t understand. But it is beautiful in the “country” and we love the fields and the creeks and the daydreams of growing quesadillas right out of the ground. Unfortunately, so far, all our farming has ended in failure. Our garden was 100% consumed by deer. Our chickens were introduced to coyotes. And I’ve not gotten a single nacho out of this supposedly fertile land.
So, it’s Earth Day and I’m a failed farmer. Fortunately, I’m also a Christian, and the Bible has beautiful things to say about this earth I’ve heretofore been unable to subdue. Here’s what I’m reflecting on this Earth Day as a failed farmer, queso lover, and daughter of God.
The Earth Declares God’s Glory
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.” – Psalm 19:1
When I used to think of country life, I’d think of tick bites and rattlesnakes and thorns. One of my farmer friends got some sort of mite last year and doctors couldn’t figure it out and she was itching constantly. She finally cured herself with some sort of horse paste she found at Tractor Supply, that, let me repeat, was intended to be used on horses. And, of course, I read the news stories about sinkholes swallowing cars and homes and people and it’s easy to be like, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? What on earth is good about the earth?
But we can’t forget the beautiful. We can’t ignore the brilliance. We can’t gloss over the intricacies of what God has made. The earth proclaims the work of God’s hands and we see it with our eyes and worship Him with our minds and hearts.
We can’t forget the oceans. They are massive and gorgeous and full of actual sharks, but God just “spread the land on the waters” (Psalm 136:6) like we would make a bed. It’s amazing. And we can’t forget the sunsets. Not just because they are pretty, but because they remind us there is an enormous ball of fiery gas “provided…for all people everywhere under heaven…” (Deuteronomy 4:19) that keeps the earth alive.
Creation shows us God is strong and kind. It shows us we are small and loved. It declares the glory of God and lets us share in it whether our gardens grow or not.
The Earth Mourns Its Brokenness
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now.” – Romans 8:22
It’s not difficult to find creation groaning. Last year, we tried to have farm animals, but wilder animals wanted dinner. Tsunamis wipe out shorelines. Don’t forget that tornadoes are real. Look at the earth, and you’ll find danger and pain in a lot of places.
Even celebrities who are outside of evangelical circles see and talk about the brokenness of the earth. They study the climate and the oceans and the sea life and they want to take broken things and fix them. They have platforms and money and they want to do good with what they’ve been given. They see pain and want to bring healing. They want to do what they can do to respond to the groaning of creation.
When we look at the brokenness of the earth, it should move us to desire restoration and salvation. And of course, there are things we can do to help in temporary ways, but we are powerless to save the planet on our own.
When we look to God’s Word, we see people trying to save themselves and save the earth and failure and suffering and decay continuing on and on as all of creation cries out for a Rescuer. And then, we see the solution. Enter Jesus, the Savior of the broken earth.
The Earth Will Be Made New
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” – Revelation 21:1
Recycling is good. Learning what is harmful to the earth and seeking to recreate and reuse products is good. Gardening is probably great for people who live in deerless societies.
But, we can’t save the earth. If everyone everywhere did everything “green,” it still wouldn’t be enough to rescue the world.
Here’s the thing. Someone already came to rescue the world. We can do good here, but we aren’t saviors. Jesus left the perfection of heaven and came down to this broken earth to save and restore. He will renew more than our oceans and more than our atmosphere. He will heal more than our wildlife. He will raise the dead and remove the penalty of sin. He did it on the cross and He does it every day to people who see brokenness and decay in their own hearts and recognize that they are powerless to fix it.
We are a people who know that the earth is hurting. And we are hurting too. But, we are also people who know the Answer. We have the Word who made the world. We hope in Jesus.
So, we farm and we fail. We recycle and we repent. We groan with all of creation and we worship the One who made it all and will make it all again. Happy Earth Day.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were created through him…In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.” – John 1:1-5
“Then the One seated on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new.’” – Revelation 21:5a
Want to see more from Scarlet? Check out her other LifeWay Voices posts: