Legacies are life changing. When I was a young boy, the seed of my grandfather’s legacy to me was planted. The occasion was my first movie in a theater. My grandfather loved the outdoors, and when Grizzly Adams came to town, he wouldn’t miss it for anything. I happened to have the honor of tagging along. What began at that moment was a love affair with the created order that my grandfather nurtured in me far into my adulthood. I don’t know whether he ever understood the extent to which this gift gave life to me and continues to do so.
My deepest encounters with God have taken place during times spent in Creation. Whether floating on a lake with a fishing pole in my hands, hiking the Appalachian Trail, or spending quiet moments atop a mountain in the Alps, these are the places where I became convinced of God’s reality and deep love. It was at a camp in the Midwest where I surrendered my life to him.
Romans 1:20 describes those moments for me: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (NLT).
We’ve seen through our eyes, our experiences, and the discipline of science the wonder, vastness, and complexity of the universe. It all points to the Creator.
My grandfather seldom spoke of his faith. Yet he gave me the gift of faith simply by inviting me into God’s presence. I couldn’t disbelieve. It wasn’t that I couldn’t come up with reasons for disbelief—it’s that I didn’t want to. There were no reasons, no excuses.
Spend some time in the outdoors, and may all your excuses disappear.
Jack Radcliffe is a husband and father of four; a coach (www.redwoodcoach.com), ministry trainer, and speaker; dean of the Youth Ministry Institute of the Tennessee Conference UMC; and adjunct professor at Martin Methodist College. He has an MDiv from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio and a DMin in Practical Theology, Adolescent Development and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary.