Our relationship with creation
Connected to prayer
This article was first featured alongside our Prayer Diary in January 2020. You can download the January 2020 prayer points here or sign-up to receive future editions by post or email.
For an African, the land and the spirit world are very closely linked. The blessings that come from the land are directly related to the ancestors, and witchcraft is practised to ensure good crops. August Basson shares about the need to restore our right relationship with creation.
At creation God created four key relationships for us, all of which were broken in the fall. We have our relationship with God himself, and our relationship with other people. Then there are two less obvious ones; our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with God’s creation. The earth was given to us to work on and protect, but instead, we live in a world full of initiatives to save it from the damage we’ve inflicted. Teenagers give passionate speeches to make people aware that our planet is not doing well. It is broken!
Standing at a river on an island off the east coast of Africa, I watched as a man walked out of his house with a rubbish bin. Unceremoniously he dumps it into the river and it starts floating towards the ocean. The city council built a dump for all the rubbish to be collected in one place. The people protested and never used it. “It is a place where germs and diseases will fester. We will just keep doing what we have done all these years. We just walk to the edge of the river and throw all our rubbish into it. It will take it to the ocean. What is the problem, don’t fix something that works!”
Our world is crying out for redemption, but how many sermons have you heard addressing our relationship with the earth? The work of Christ stretches far wider than we understand, and sometimes wider than we preach from our pulpits. We can be so focused on the salvation work of Christ that we forget where the story began. God created, he planted a garden in Eden. He walked with Adam and Eve there. As believers we need to pause and realise the work of Christ on the cross covered every aspect of life here on earth (Colossians 1:19-20).
It is one thing for someone to let God into his heart, but it is another story altogether to let God reign in all aspects of life.
Is it not time for us to start to walk with our Father in the garden he created for us? Is it not time for us to cry with him as we walk, repent, and work with him to restore it? As missionaries, our work is incomplete if we overlook the relationship with God’s creation. In many places in Africa people’s hearts are closed to the gospel, but their ears are open to solutions to the challenges the environment throws at them. And so their ears become a highway to their hearts when practical solutions are offered to droughts and floods.
When we sent the first ‘Harvest’ team to Tanzania in 2018 they went as farmers. As they worked, day in and day out, both on their own fields and on others’ fields, trust started to grow. They taught farmers to pray about every step as they planted and grew crops. This changes the way people view the land and creation. It changes the way they see disasters like a hail storm or drought. It is one thing for someone to let God into his heart, but it is another story altogether to let God reign in all aspects of life.
Let us walk again with God in his garden, let’s honour this relationship he created for us. Let’s fix what we can.