I’ve been more than a little distracted the past few weeks by this glorious autumn season. I’m accomplishing the urgent things, but I’ve slacked on my commitment to blog through our current study, ‘Experiencing God.’ Instead, I’ve been spending time outside, particularly on the family farm, and often in the woods.
I’m totally nerding-out on fungi this year! There has never been a year I have noticed them more, or appreciated their beauty as I do now. Apparently this year is a banner year for fungi, as reported by yesterday’s Fort Wayne News Sentinel. Here are just a few of the pics I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks:
Okay, too many pictures (at least I didn’t try to name them all), but I am fascinated by this part of God’s creation and even by how it testifies to the work of God. Usually when I think of fungi, I think of something undesired like foot fungus. I”ll never forget Alan Alda’s famous line on M*A*S*H* when dealing with foot fungus in the army camp. He jabbed, “There’s a fungus among-us.” -Yeah, it’s not the most glamorous topic.
But stay with me for just a minute.
For years I’ve largely overlooked the fungi while more spectacular things gained my attention. I’m often on the lookout for the white tail deer, the red tail hawk, and the crimson maple on an autumn afternoon. We hunt for buckeyes, wild turkey, and occasionally sight the sly fox. Nevertheless, the fungi are continuously at work as an integral part of our ecosystem, breaking down dead wood and plant matter, and transforming them into fertile soil, which nurtures plants and allows them to grow. Without their quiet, persistent, transforming work, life in the foreest would come to a standstill.
So, dare I compare God to the fungi? I think I can, for they display His splendor, and the work of His hands. Scripture tells us we understand things about God from what he has made. You see, God is always powerfully at work, persisting often in quiet, faithful ways (although I have seen some miraculous things as well). Without His work we would never know love, joy or peace. We couldn’t treat others with patience and kindness. No one would be good, and unfaithfulness would be the rule-of thumb. As for true self-control? It’s only learned though obedience to the Holy Spirit. You see, it’s God’s very presence among us, often overlooked, that allows us to thrive. I’ve written about this topic before, in my post, “Two Kinds of Grace.”
“God is always at work around you.” This is the first assertion of Henry Blackaby in his seven steps to Experiencing God. Part of our study involves learning to be aware of what God is already doing around us so that we can join Him in His work. That crushes our own agenda. It wipes away our self-promotion. A person can’t be self-centered and God-centered at the same time.
Specifically, Blackaby encourages us to be looking for ways God is working in regard to people, drawing them to Himself. When we see how He is already working, we can experience the joy of working alongside Him. Then, as we see God using us to accomplish His work, we develop a relationship with Him. We learn trust and dependence. It is here, in this state of dependence, that a our identity in Him is forged.
Yes, I’m nerding-out on fungi this fall, but I’m also ever-aware of God’s work within me and within those around me. My desire is to join Him in His work, and to see the transformation of the deadness within to something fertile that is life-giving and fosters growth all around us.