Slow Down or You’ll Miss the Best Parts of Life: Thoughts on This is My Father’s World, Part I


A few years ago I took a business trip to Southern California. I had some extra time one night, and I had a pretty nice car–Hertz automatically upgraded me to a Ford Escape. So I decided to take the name of the car to heart and to drive where the road would take me. I just zipped down Interstate 5, and instead of getting off at my usual exit, I just decided to shoot straight down.

My ultimate goal was Mexico, but I decided I didn’t have time. It was about an hour away from sunset, so I decided to try to find a nice place to watch. Back then, I could always see the sun rise over Manhattan from my apartment window, but watching the sun set over the Pacific is a treat I don’t get to see very often.

So I pulled off to La Jolla (luckily, someone told me how to pronounce it before I got there). The beach was pretty crowded, as you might imagine. I drove and drove, and finally found parking. Everyone seemed to be there to watch the sunset. A lady with a camcorder was even recording it. I climbed down onto a rock and sat there.

The sunset was beautiful, as you might imagine. The sun just slowly inched its way down until it was nearly gone. Then, with a brilliant last gasp, it disappeared under the horizon. Instantly, most of the people in the crowded beach started to noisily make their ways back to their cars. The lady shut off her camcorder.

I decided to wait there. Soon, it was just me and a few people here and there. Pretty soon after that, it was just me.

After a few minutes, I started to get up myself. Then, I looked back at the horizon. The clouds over the horizon were absolutely glowing with a bright red streak across the sky. As darkness set, the sky was filled with the most amazing colors you can imagine, from a deep dark blue up top to peach color, to an orange color. The color of the waves changed from a dark green to a dramatic black. The sand sparkled under the waves. Soon after that, a single star appeared on the horizon. Then, the skies above were filled with them. I closed my eyes and thanked God for letting me be part of his creation.

I think about all those people who left, thinking the sunset was over the instant the sun disappeared. I think about all they missed. Then, I thought about our lives. Sometimes, in our fast food culture of instant gratification, we are so busy rushing to the next blessing that we forget to relax and to just appreciate the fullness of all the blessings that we already have. We spend so much time rushing to “tomorrow” that we forget about “today”. We forget that this world, and our lives, are creations of God, and that God is the ultimate designer of everything in the world that is beautiful.

There is beauty everywhere in this world, and in your life. Enjoy it.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?

(Job 38:5-8)

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1.
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

2.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
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.

3.
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:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

4.
This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

5.
This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The Lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

6.
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.