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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Helping Kid’s See God’s Glory in Nature

Helping Kid’s See God’s Glory in Nature

Eryn Lynum shares the value of appreciating God’s creation as a spiritual practice, encouraging you to take your kids into the great outdoors. She combines her experience in the study of nature with her knowledge of the Bible to teach people about the countless ways the wonders of the natural world point back to the Creator. Eryn shares about the benefits of slowing down to observe creation around us and discover lessons about God’s power, absolute truth, and perspective on grief.
Original Air Date: June 21, 2023

Eryn Lynum: But God calls us, invites us to stop and consider his works. And I believe that nature is one of the most incredible arenas where we get to work in tune with God’s design for time.

John Fuller: That’s Eryn Lynum, and she’s our guest today on Focus on the Family sharing insights about teaching your kids about God through the wonders of nature. And, uh, it seems that today’s hectic culture it, um, is really helpful for us to step away from the businesses of life and get outdoors and turn that into a learning opportunity. Uh, that’s what we’ll cover today. Uh, thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller, and your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, I think it’s great for all of us to get out into nature. It does something to revive us, to refresh us, especially spiritually I think. And there’s so many young people today that are suffering from a mental health crisis. You know, the loneliness factor, anxiety, depression. It’s at all-time highs. And I think one of the great first things you can do is get your children out into nature, get yourself out there …

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and start looking at the stars, looking at the mountains, looking at the streams. There is something great and rehabilitating for us in that regard. And we’re gonna talk today to a person who is a master naturalist. And, uh, Eryn is gonna bring a lot of great spiritual application to being outside.

John: Yeah. Eryn Lynum is the mother of four kids. She is, as you said, a master naturalist, a bible teacher, and she’s written a terrific resource that, uh, forms the foundation of our conversation today. It’s called Rooted in Wonder: Nurturing Your Family’s Faith Through God’s Creation. We’ve got details at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Eryn, welcome back.

Eryn: Thank you. Thank you for having me back.

Jim: Okay. So, dinner conversation, you’re out with friends and you bring up, uh, nature, and your husband says, “Yes, Eryn is a master naturalist.” Of course, they’re gonna say, “What’s that?” (laughs)

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: So …

Eryn: That’s always the first question. (laughs)

Jim: Let’s start there. What is it?

Eryn: So, as a master naturalist, I am trained and certified in everything nature, birds, and insects, and animals, and plants, and how they all …

Jim: My goodness.

Eryn: … work together. And further to pass that knowledge on …

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: … in relevant and applicable ways. And as a believer, my desire for that was to be able to learn about nature in order to point people from creation to creator.

Jim: Yeah. You know, with- with, uh, Paul in the Book of Romans, he points to this fact that nature screams, cries out about God’s creation, right? You can see God in everything he created. That’s a pretty powerful statement, and it must resonate with you.

Eryn: Yeah. That’s actually the key scripture of the book, Romans 1:20, that his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world through what has been made, so that we are without excuse.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And I love that idea that we can actually perceive the divine nature of God through what we see in creation.

Jim: Yeah. That is so, so good. Uh, nature is used as an illustration so often in the Bible. I mean, I think the Lord absolutely knew, of course, that we are always going to have nature around us in some way, and therefore he could tell us parables or, you know, commit stories to scripture that we could connect with even 2,000 years later, right?

John: Yeah.

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: And it’s pretty, pretty powerful. Um, you have a story in the book about your son noticing something. I love this ’cause we’ve been to this location, the Dinosaur Monument National Park up here in Northern Colorado.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So, what happened with your son that kind of, uh, illustrates what we’re talking about?

Eryn: So that’s funny. Normally, when I mention this story, I ask who’s been to that park, and almost no one raises …

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: … their hands.

John: No.

Eryn: It’s … (laughs)

Jim: It’s hard to get to.

Eryn: It is, and it’s not the most popular national park, but it is beautiful.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: And so, we were visiting for a few days and we’re driving through the national park, and it was October, so it was parched. The whole land is just desolate and dry. The only things living out there like sagebrush and juniper, but we’re driving through and the anomaly is the river. And where the river runs, there are these tall stands of cottonwood trees. And since it was October, the leaves were golden yellow.

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: Just swaying in the breeze, just beautifully. And my son, who was nine at the time, he spoke up from the backseat and said, “Mom, I understand now why the trees grow by the river. They need the water for their roots.” And I said, “Yeah, it’s just like Psalm 1 that talks about someone who meditates or thinks on God’s word day and night, that they are like trees firmly planted by streams of water, that their fruit yields in season and it’s leaf …”

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: “… does not wither. And in all he does, he prospers.” And I just thought that was so neat that now my son, when he sees a river and cottonwood trees, he can think about that person receiving the living waters of God’s word.

Jim: Definitely. How old was he when that happened?

Eryn: Nine.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That is so cruel.

John: That’s a great observation.

Jim: And it- it reinforces the fact that our kids are observing all the time, right?

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: And, uh, again, reinforces the need to get him out into nature, which I think is wonderful. In fact, I think I’ve got photos of that trip we took, so we’ll post those …

John: I like it.

Jim: … online and, uh, you could see Jean. And we have a video where she almost tripped over a rock. How about that one?

Eryn: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) Let’s not post that one.

Eryn: (laughs)

John: Yeah. We’ll, just put a picture or two.

Jim: Anyway. Um, stars in the sky. I was always in love with astronomy.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You know, the idea of the stars.

John: (laughs)

Jim: Not astrology, don’t get those mixed up.

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: But astronomy, just the study of the stars and heavenly bodies, that kind of thing. I’d loved it since I was a little boy. I-, the first job I had, I created a greenhouse for this older grumpy guy who paid me …

Eryn: (laughs)

Jim: … I think it was $80. It was, uh, like a two-week job …

Eryn: (laughs)

Jim: … so I don’t think I was making much.

John: (laughs)

Jim: But I took that money and I bought a telescope.

Eryn: Oh, wow.

Jim: I mean, that’s how motivated I was. I think I was probably 11 years old. And, uh, I just love what God has done with the heavenly places. I mean, this is fascinating to me. The depth, the distance, infinity, universe. I mean, it’s just amazing. You had a- a good experience, I think with your son, uh, or your kids, uh, seeing a solar eclipse.

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: Which again is awesome.

Eryn: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: What happened?

Eryn: This was in 2017. We had just sold our home and bought a 20-foot travel trailer and …

Jim: Yay.

Eryn: Right?

Jim: (laughs)

Eryn: We were gonna explore the Pacific Northwest for nine weeks, and we started our trip in Newport, Oregon, and we arrived there just in time for the total solar eclipse. And this was an area that was known as a totality zone.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: And I didn’t know what that meant when we got there. People were just telling me, “Oh, it’s the best viewing point for it.” But I had no idea what to expect. And so, that morning when the solar eclipse started, slowly, everything starts getting dark, and it’s about 9:00 AM in the morning. And the craziest thing was the temperatures started plummeting.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: Quick. And the fog reversed and rolled back into the bay, and then the sea lion and the seagulls start going crazy like, “What is going on?” And soon, the sun is entirely blocked out and everything is dark. You can see stars in the sky at 9:00 AM.

John: Oh my goodness.

Eryn: And our son, who was four at the time, he just said, “Mom, how does God do that?”

Jim: (laughs) That’s good.

Eryn: And it was so incredible to see that he was making that connection. And I talk about that experience as one of my Hebron experiences like Abraham in Genesis 15, when God pointed to the stars and made that covenant promise. I think it’s so important to notice that God anchored that promise, that truth in the visual of the night sky, and just how powerful that is. I love that. At the beginning of that story, the first thing God does, we read, he brought Abraham outside. And how powerful that is for us that we can bring our kids outside where they can have those Hebron experiences.

Jim: And, you know, again, exposing them to nature, which Romans through Paul, he’s telling …

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … us that there’s no excuse.

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: You look at nature, you know there’s a God.

Eryn: Yeah.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s the way it should be. Um, how does nature help us slow down and form meaningful connections with our kids? I mean, my camping experiences weren’t always (laughs) that.

Eryn: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: It wasn’t, it wasn’t slow down, it was, “Hurry up kids, we gotta go.”

John: Yeah.

Eryn: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Eryn: Yeah, I love that in Job, we read, stop and consider the wondrous works of God. And that keyword at the beginning, stop. We are raising kids in this fast-paced world and society where we are just go, go, go. But God calls us, invites us to stop and consider his works. And I believe that nature is one of the most incredible arenas where we get to work in tune with God’s design for time. And so, I love taking my kids out and spending an entire day losing track of time where they are just take- …

Jim: That’s a great goal.

Eryn: It is. (laughs)

Jim: I’ve never thought of that.

Eryn: It’s wonderful. The days that we do it, you just … We drive out to the wilderness and they are so quick at it. Kids are naturally inclined to this way of play, and so they’re quickly taken to the stream, or the field, or the flowers, or the birds. It takes me longer …

Jim: Wow.

Eryn: … to untangle the thoughts and the burdens of life, and to just be with the Lord in creation. But to lose sense of time, and really what we’re doing is we’re stepping into God’s limits of time and agreeing with him and how he means for us to spend it.

Jim: Yeah. That is so good. I wish …

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … I would’ve done that. Did you do anything like that, John?

John: Well, we did a lot of camping.

Jim: Right.

John: But- but it seems like sometimes we- we were too quick to pack up and go to the next place.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs) I can relate to that.

John: Uh, and I like what you’re saying about just being very intentional, and slowing down, and losing track of time. That’s a gift.

Jim: I like that.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Lose track of time. That’s wonderful. You speak about technology and you wrote in the book about technology being an invasive species. I love that. (laughs) The kudzu of technology.

Eryn: Yes. (laughs)

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You know, choking out the flowers in the trees.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Speak to the analogy and- and what you’re trying to derive from it.

Eryn: Yeah. So, in recent years, we’ve just seen technology taking over the landscape of childhood, and so we have this visual of that in nature. And I make the connections between … So, you have invasive species that are alien species. They’re not supposed to be here. Like they’re part of God’s creation, but they’re not meant to be in this location, and then you have native species that belong here. So, invasive species were recently introduced in the past couple hundred years.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: It’s a recent problem, and it was well-intentioned, because we thought, “Oh, let’s bring over this exotic beauty from other lands. It will be great. They’re beautiful.” And they are. But the problem is that when you bring those in, they- they quickly choke out, as you said, the landscape and they- they take over. And the same is true with technology. It is a recent issue. Like my generation of parents is the first generation having to really navigate the tangles of this.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: And it was well-intentioned. A lot of technology is wonderful and we can use it for good. But when left unchecked, it takes over the landscape of our kids’ childhoods and their souls.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: And we need to bring that back into balance, like a healthy ecosystem and be able to say, “Okay, what is the healthy balance that we can strike here?”

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: No, that’s really a great metaphor in how to look at that. Um, man, so many parents struggle with how to keep that garden free of the, uh …

Eryn: Yes.

Jim: … invasive species.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: We struggled with it.

John: Mm-hmm. Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daley. We’re talking about, uh, some pretty basic parenting things that you can take advantage of no matter where you live. There’s some outdoor space near you with stars, uh, available and, uh …

Jim: (laughs)

John: … and other things, uh, that will help you point your kids toward God’s creation. Eryn Lynum is our guest and she has terrific resource called Rooted in Wonder, and you can learn more about Eryn and about that book, uh, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or give us a call.

Jim: You know, Eryn, my mind is kind of swirling with all the experiences that we had camping or hiking here in Colorado, which I said at the open, this environment, and you live north of us.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, north of Denver. It’s just a great, uh, state for that reason.

Eryn: Yes.

Jim: I mean, I think it’s probably one of the best. You know, you look at Montana …

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: … and Colorado.

Eryn: It’s why we came.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: (laughs)

Jim: I mean, it’s really, really special.

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: And so, I’m sorry for those that may not have that experience, but come and visit, but there’s always something in some state …

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: … that people can go do. Uh, but I’m thinking, we were able … We had Trent, he was probably less than one, ’cause he ha-, he was on a backpack on my back and we’re walking in the mountains up here, and we just happened to catch the monarch butterfly migration.

Eryn: Oh, yes. (laughs)

Jim: And I- I wish I could do that again, but it was just accidental.

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: Um, you know, and we got up to the front range here and we started walking through this meadow and thousands of monarch butterflies just started fluttering. And I remember Trent even, you know, 11, 12 months old, he just was trying to touch everything …

Eryn: Oh, yeah.

Jim: And grab them.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, yeah, obviously it was too slow to …

John: Yeah.

Jim: … impede them. But it was a wonderful experience …

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: … you know, for all of us just watching those butterflies and all.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So, I mean, it’s just a- a- a great experience to see your kids in that kind of environment.

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: And the … I think just the, uh, amazement that you could even see on a one-year-old’s face …

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: … in that situation. Eryn, uh, we look at studies now that are showing that prayer is so helpful in recovery, surgical recovery, et cetera. Now, you know, most doctors, even nonbelievers say that prayer really helps a person recover from those surgeries and things like that. Uh, there’s also evidence, I believe, uh, where being in nature is helping with mental and physical recovery or- or stimulus. Uh, speak to that research and that benefit.

Eryn: There is. There have been studies done. One shows that patients in a hospital, they were studied. Patients who had a view of a building or a brick wall outside their window compared to patients who had a view of a natural space or trees.

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And the patients that could look out at creation healed quicker and better, and their mentality in recovery was so much better.

Jim: Okay. Someone is going, “Oh, phooey, that- that just doesn’t even sound right.” But back it up again. I mean, this is what they’re watching.

Eryn: This is what they’re looking at. Yeah. I shared the study in my book and it was so fascinating to dig into that science is actually pointing to this, and even to the point that hospitals are keeping this in mind in their designs …

Jim: Huh.

Eryn: … and how much nature they have around the hospital and out the windows. Or, like, I think if a hospital wants to start getting better reviews, put some potted ferns in the patient’s room.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: Like help them recover through that- that power of nature.

Jim: I think that’s phenomenal. And again, it points scripturally to God’s creation and what he intends for us.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: In Philippians 4:8, God commands us to set our minds on things that are good, which is obvious. Ho- how does time in creation, you know, spending time in creation help Christians set their minds on the right things? Well, everybody really, but …

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … particularly Christians who can understand it from that vantage point.

Eryn: Mm-hmm. I love in that scripture that God pairs together lovely and true.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And that we can see that in the beauty of his creation, there is truth. And when we surround ourselves with that, like God is the bringer of life. And so, when we surround ourselves with the life that he has created, we feel more alive. My son, one day, during a particularly difficult season of life, he said, “Mom, we need to go hiking to sort our thoughts.”

Jim: Wow.

Eryn: And I thought that was so profound.

Jim: Wow.

Eryn: And he was right. We went hiking and there’s … It takes a certain amount of time. Usually, it’s like two miles for me. Once I’ve been out in the woods for an hour or so, I just sense the Lord’s nearness.

Jim: Hmm.

Eryn: And my thoughts begin to, as my son would say, sort themselves out.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And I believe God created it that way. That he gave us nature as this mental health resource.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: That we can go out and think upon everything lovely, and true, and good, and honorable, and just, and we have these incredible visuals to help us do that.

Jim: No, that’s so good. And I hope … I mean, people are hearing this. This is the purpose of today’s program is to make you think about getting out and getting your children out into the wilderness. It doesn’t have to be far, just something outside, right?

Eryn: Yeah. And- and like …

Jim: (laughs)

Eryn: … you mentioned, Jim, yeah, we live in Colorado and we’re so blessed to have all this nature. But for my family, this didn’t start in Colorado, it started in Kansas City, in the city.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And we would just take these day trips to every little patch of nature we could find.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: Whether that was the green space down the street or a nature trail at the edge of the city. This is available to everyone. God’s creation is all around us.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: And you can make these small tweaks in your family and in your agenda to make sure that you’re exposing your kids to God’s life giving creation.

Jim: Yeah. Nature museums are outstanding.

Eryn: Yes.

Jim: Especially for kids. I remember we’re at Smithsonian and they, you know, they had a, I’m sure a caretaker. I don’t know what they’re qual- … I’m sure they were highly qualified, but it was a tarantula spider that we were assured was not dangerous.

Eryn: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: But I- I think Troy was like seven and Trent was like nine. And of course, they let it crawl all over them and we were freaking out a little …

Eryn: (laughs)

Jim: … but, you know, it’s just a great experience. Some of those nature museums …

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … do a wonderful job …

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, exploring things with kids and letting children actually touch, feel, and sense the things in nature.

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: Yeah. My kids got to touch a real dinosaur bone once.

Jim: (laughs)

Eryn: And we talked about just how neat that was, that something God created so long ago had been preserved, and our kids could actually touch it. And we use that as a lesson of how important it is to make people aware of creation and protect it, so that people years from now still have …

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: … these evidences for the creator.

Jim: Yeah, I was kinda shocked by that. Up at the National Dinosaur …

Eryn: Yes. Mm-hmm.

Jim: … uh, National Park up there in Colorado. You could …

Eryn: That …

Jim: Yeah, you’re touching the wall …

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: … with the bone still in the, uh, dirt …

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … from how many years ago. Um, let’s keep moving. Um, there was a time where your grandmother was near death and God helped you have an eternal perspective and use nature in that regard. How …

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Again, you’re so tuned in with it. That’s what I love. But how did you connect those dots, and were your kids around for that experience?

Eryn: This was profound for me. My, as you mentioned, my grandmother was dying, and so I was flying out to visit her in Pennsylvania before she passed. And, um, I took my oldest son with me for that trip, and the last time he had flown, he was very young, so he didn’t remember it. And so, while we were up in the air, it was cloudy and he was able to see. You know, when you’re in a plane and you look down on the clouds, and they look like …

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: … they’re almost like waxing and waning like …

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: … a lava lamp.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: And that was really neat to show him. Like even before flight, those clouds were always there.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: They were always there, even if we didn’t know it and couldn’t see it from that perspective. And so, later that week when I returned home from my trip, my kids asked me, “What happens when someone dies?”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And I had experienced, my grandma was a brand new believer. She trusted in the Lord weeks before her passing.

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And so, when I was staying by her bedside, she was fearful because she had faith and she believed in the Lord, but she was a new believer and- and didn’t know what was gonna happen.

John: Right.

Eryn: And so, I was able to talk with my kids that even if we don’t know exactly what that looks like, that passing, just like the clouds in the sky that we couldn’t see from the perspective of the air, it’s still happening.

John: Yeah.

Eryn: It’s still there. And I was able to give them that visual that like, there’s so much that … Yeah, we can’t see, but just like Hebrews says, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. We have that evidence.

Jim: Yeah. And, you know, the Lord uses that nature to illustrate things for us. Uh, in a similar way, my mom, she was a new believer. You know, she accepted Christ the day before she died.

Eryn: Wow.

Jim: And yet her funeral was amazing, and everybody noticed the clouds formed like a staircase.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It was phenomenal.

Eryn: Hmm.

Jim: I mean, all of us stopped and looked. I was 10 years old, and I was going, “Wow.” And my brother, Mike, that started him on his faith journey was that, that day at my mother’s graveside, the clouds just looked like a staircase. There’s no way to describe it other than that. And, uh, years later, my mom’s best friend who I- I had lost touch with, she specifically asked me about the family, where we- we were at. And I said, “Well, four of the five of us kids had become Christian.” And she started bawling and she said, “That day of your mother’s funeral, I had a vision of your mom going up into heaven with all the kids going up.” Isn’t that amazing?

Eryn: Wow.

Jim: And now finally, my sister has become a Christian. So, it’s …

John: Uh-huh.

Jim: … it’s become true …

Eryn: Oh my God.

Jim: … all five of us. So, you know, it’s just awesome how God can use nature …

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: … in that way.

Eryn: Yeah. My …

Jim: And some people go, “Seriously?” Seriously.

Eryn: Yeah.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I experienced it. I saw it change my brother’s life.

Eryn: Yeah. My husband’s brother passed last year.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And the night of his passing, the sky lit up with aurora borealis, northern lights.

Jim: Wow.

Eryn: And it was such a confirmation to us that the Lord was there.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Well, you know, and I think ancient people understood this better than we do.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Because we’re so drowned out by the city lights …

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: … and everything else, modern life. They weren’t … It feels like they were far more in tune with God, working through his nature to touch our souls …

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: … than we are today.

Eryn: I agree. (laughs)

Jim: That’s why …

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … we’re encouraging you to crack that can open for your kids so they can experience and taste it.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So, that it makes a difference in their lives. Uh, it-, you have a story about your boys and their reactions to a forest you visited, uh, during a wildfire.

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that- that’s an interesting perspective. What happened?

Eryn: Mm-hmm. Well, here in Colorado, you guys know we’re …

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: … familiar there’s a fire burning up in the hills right now we saw the smoke from.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And in 2020, the largest wildfire in Colorado’s written history burned a few miles from our home for three months.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And so, our kids witnessed that.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And three months of just choking smoke, there were days we couldn’t go outside. And, of course, 2020 was hard for everyone, and we ached to be out in creation during that time, but we couldn’t let our kids go outside, we couldn’t hike, and it … That was the most stifling part of that year for me was the wildfire.

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: But when that fire finally laid down under a blanket of snow, we started revisiting the forest, and it’s incredible to witness and to see your kids witness a forest that has burned, because wildfire is actually a natural restorative process …

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: … in the landscape. And what happens, there’s some plants that can’t even reproduce except for the extreme temperatures like wildfire. They have a …

Jim: Right.

Eryn: … serotinous seed in them.

John: Right.

Eryn: And what you see is fireweed, brilliant pink flowers just contrasting the black forest, and aspen saplings come up. And our kids can see that even after devastation, there is new life. And I remember one day we were driving and exploring the fire affected area, and this mama elk and her brand new calf walk out of the woods. And it dawned on me that she would’ve been pregnant the full duration of our wildfire.

John: Hmm.

Eryn: And it was such this beautiful image of new life after death, after …

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: … devastation. And like scripture is full of this, God is the bringer of new life and restoration. And we get to see that through things like wildfire.

Jim: Yeah. You- you know, what’s so profound about that is Satan, like John 10:10 says.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I come that you might have life and life more abundantly. And it- it’s like every time Satan is trying to thwart God’s plan through destruction, the saplings come up.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: He cannot achieve it. It’s like God turns everything to his purposes.

John: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Including nature. And it’s true of our own hearts.

Eryn: Yeah.

Jim: Those things that devastate us in this life, the Lord will use to drop new life out of you, if you let them.

Eryn: Yes.

Jim: And that’s what you see in nature. Uh, the title of your book is Rooted in Wonder, and you talk about how that wonder is a big element of the childlike faith that he calls us to. Go to that biblical perspective. How does nature foster this childlike wonder towards God and creation in our families? And probably hit that scripture where the Lord is saying, “You know, be humble like a child. Don’t be an adult.” (laughs)

Eryn: Yeah. Yeah. (laughs) Well, I think there’s an important distinction between childish and childlike.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: And sometimes we just think of them the same, but they’re not. Childish is this immaturity that ideally we grow out of. Childlike is this wonder filled perspective on life and faith. And my kids have reawaken that within me …

Jim: Uh-huh.

Eryn: … as I see them reconnecting with God in creation. And I love to think about those stories where Jesus is out teaching and there are children all around. And I love just picturing … Like, I love house sparrows are outside of my yard all the time. Um, they’re one of the most prevalent and common birds, and the oldest fossil of one was discovered in Bethlehem.

John: Oh.

Eryn: And so, it’s very likely that when Jesus was teaching, there’s kids over here and there’s house sparrows jumping around on the ground and I- I love just picturing him drawing from those analogies when he teaches with- with a mustard seed, and soil, and an olive tree, and sparrows, and kids connect with that.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Eryn: They are so in tune with nature that they have this incredible … Just they love those resources, those analogies, those visuals, and that’s how God made it. And it’s this- this childlike faith that we also as adults can have reawaken within- within us.

Jim: Yeah. And again, what a wonderful parenting direction to go. And sometimes, we miss this. You know, we’re just too busy and things. Take over, the kudzu. (laughs)

Eryn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You know, the invasive species of our lives as mom and dad keep us from pointing our children toward nature.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So, what a great reminder, Eryn. Rooted in Wonder: Nurturing Your Family’s Faith Through God’s Creation. I think this has been really interesting. I wasn’t quite sure where all this would have gone today, but I just so appreciate your spirit, and what you and your husband have done to help your kids better understand God’s nature. Why not do this? If you have kids in your home, I don’t care what the age they are, but, uh, get them introduced more deeply into God’s creation, and especially for the grandparents. What a wonderful thing to talk to your adult kids about doing. If you’ve heard today’s program, pass it on to your adult kids and say, “Hey, this had some good stuff in it today.” And if you can make a gift of any amount to focus, be part of the ministry. We’ll send you a copy of Eryn’s book, Rooted in Wonder, as our way of saying thank you for being part of helping families to thrive in Christ through Focus on the Family.

John: Mm-hmm. Donate when you get in touch today. Our phone number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast to find out more about, uh, Eryn’s terrific book, Rooted in Wonder.

Jim: Eryn, thanks again for being with us, and we’ll look forward to next time.

Eryn: Thank you. Thank you…

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: … for having me.

Jim: You bet.

John: Mm-hmm. And thank you for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Rooted in Wonder Book Cover

Rooted in Wonder: Nurturing Your Family's Faith Through God's Creation

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