This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
I hadn't heard this in so long until Saturday and it keeps playing in my head, bringing back old memories. It's an old hymn that showed me God was real when I was very little--a theme song in Vacation Bible School. I think that's where my faith---my real faith began. I didn't understand it all but somehow I knew He was there for me and I could bring all my secrets to Him. Maybe that's why I'm still such a cheerleader for VBS--God always shows up and you never know when He may make all the difference for even one single child... That summer, we were outside for VBS closing. Seemed like there were yellow flowers everywhere...or at least that's what I noticed--cannas, gladiolas, marigolds--all yellow. (Yellow flowers are still my favorite!) The memory of it is so clear, I can almost smell their fragrance! The day was sickening hot, with just a little breeze and I already wasn't feeling well at all but I was too shy, frightened, and maybe ashamed to tell anyone why. Traditional church, traditional VBS, traditional song... We always sang every verse (those printed in the hymnal anyway). The week was focused on the Creation Story. I knew God made all this amazing yellow!... On to verse 2...
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.
Being so young, I'm not sure how I knew but as we sang, I could feel Him...hear Him. I suddenly realized He was real--not just a story.This was HIS world and He talked to me even if I wasn't big enough or good enough. I wonder if that's the first time I felt the Holy Spirit--the Comforter. Though I couldn't put it in words then, I sometimes felt so alone and those words hit home that day. Suddenly I wasn't alone..But He had something even more significant He wanted me to understand that day as we sang the next verse...
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: the battle is not done...
If someone had asked me to explain what that meant back then, I couldn't have done it but I knew somehow. Then I'm not sure I cognitively understood what was wrong, but my heart did...And these words were what I needed as if God said, "It's okay, I know everything and it's gonna be okay...I'm here in every moment, good or bad..."
He stood against evil and despair while I just fought to survive. David's words never rang more true: "You O Lord are a Shield around me; You are my Glory, the One who hold my head high..." - Psalm 3:3
So young and innocent in so many ways, I didn't know what "should" have been--just how life was. Circumstances didn't change then, but God changed me that day...He gave me something I could hold on to even if I couldn't grasp exactly what happened. Thank God for that childlike trust that God would be God---no room for doubt. My faith took form in that moment--not finished or perfect, but I was (am) the Potter's clay... If I was older, I would have found every argument why He shouldn't or couldn't care. As a grown up, I struggle to trust Him always. It makes me understand why He said we should come to Him as little children...I think trust is innate and we "learn" NOT to trust as we get older and life (not God) deals us blow after blow. By human standards, we have every reason to give up. Yet God continually leads us back to Him....He was all I had then and He brought me to where He's all I have now...We didn't have verse 6 in our hymnal back then but today--all grown up--I am reminded of the peace in His presence as He reveals Himself in the beauty of the spring season...Breathing in the fragrance of new beginnings...In so many ways, I am still alone--empty nest, divorced, still healing...yet somehow content in anticipation of the future. He is my home...
This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze
God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not, my heart is still at home.
Thank You Lord for revealing Yourself to me when I needed You most way back then in VBS and even today. You are still my Shield. Sometimes memories are hard to bear but I love when You remind me how great is Your love. I am eternally grateful that You whispered to Paul as he prayed so many centuries ago even for my fateful childhood moment when my roots grew down deep as Your love surpassed my childhood knowledge. His prayer is precious to me...
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. - Ephesians 3:17-19
THIS IS MY FATHER'S WORLD is public domain....Words & Music by Maltbie B. Babcock