I recently took my kids to the San Diego Zoo. What a crazy collection of creatures that place has! Once you stop gawking at the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), there are all these other critters running around that you never heard of or imagined. I keep expecting them to erect a Dr. Seuss wing one of these times. There was even this one thing that seemed to have come straight out of the bar scene in Star Wars. Goofy little body. Ugly, throw-away-the-mold face. A name you couldn’t pronounce. From a place you never heard of. Unbelievable. Fascinating. Marvelous.
Some can wander through a place like that and see Charles Darwin all around them. Not me. Everywhere I turn I see the handiwork of God. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have the faintest notion how to make an Okapi or a Lemur. For all I know you’ve got to go through millions of years of modifications to get it just so. But if you try to tell me that a gazelle or a Macaw or even a warthog happened by chance, I say “No way.” (Well, maybe the warthog.)
Likewise, I am fascinated by how the human body is able to repair itself. If I cut my finger today, within moments the body goes to work on repairs; within hours there is visible evidence that healing is underway; and within days it is as if nothing even happened. Amazing. Wonderful. Miraculous. And definitely not happenstance.
One does not have to go very far or work very hard to see evidence of a loving God: in the leaf of a tree, in a billowy cloud, or in a snow-capped mountain peak; in a bug that skitters or a hawk that soars; in the shape of the human ear, the back of your own hand, the ripple of muscle, a giggle, a sigh, a smile. Everything we see or touch or hear or taste allows us to feel God’s presence if we will attune ourselves to Him. If the world is, indeed, His footstool (Isaiah 66:1), is it really all that surprising that we should see his footprints all around us?
That great Book of Mormon prophet Alma (son of Alma) put it this way: “. . . [All] things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44).
He didn’t specifically mention the Okapi, mind you, but I’m pretty sure that, had he seen one, he would have agreed with me and cast a grateful eye toward heaven.
I close with the words of the poet:
GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
“Pied Beauty,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins