On several occasions while on a walk in nature I’ve reflected on God by doing three things. First, I pause, stoop, and pull up a small plant, usually a weed, along the path. Then I do something you might find strange. I smell the dirt-covered roots. They say smell triggers the memory like none of the other four senses. I agree. The smell of fresh earth takes me back to growing up on an Iowa farm. I would often take lunch to my father when he was working the fields. He would sit down on the ground, his back leaning against one of the big back wheels of the tractor, and eat the lunch I had brought. The aroma of the newly tilled soil would be strong in the air. Smelling the fresh earth on the pulled up roots reminds me of my earthly father, which prompts me to reflect on the fact that I have a Heavenly Father. I was blessed to have a good earthly father, so that helps me relate to God as my Heavenly Father. Note: even if you had an absent or not very good earthly father, you can reflect on what a good earthly father would be like and affirm that your Heavenly Father is infinitely better than what you can imagine. As I continue on my walk I’m mindful of God, my Heavenly Father.
Then, as I walk, I look at the sunlight all about me, perhaps even feeling the warmth of the sun, and remind myself that God is like light in different ways and that, specifically, the Son of God, Jesus, is called the light of the world. Basking in the light of His presence in my life is what gives me real life, spiritual life (like the sun makes physical life possible). And just as light helps us see things more clearly than we can in darkness, so as the Light of my life He helps me see myself and everything else more clearly and truthfully. I reflect on the Son of God’s light in my life.
As I continue to walk I note the breeze, maybe even a wind. I don’t see the movement of the air, but I note its presence by the rustling of leaves, the swaying branches, and the feeling of the wind against my skin and the blowing of my hair. The invisible wind reminds me that God is not visible, that He is spirit. In fact, both the Hebrew and Greek words for wind (the two original languages of the Old and New Testament) can also be translated as spirit. When I experience the breeze or wind I’m reminded that God is Spirit.
And so as I take my walk I reflect on how God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is triune in nature, that’s how He’s revealed Himself.
When the angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus without benefit of a human father, Gabriel said that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High (the Father) would overshadow her and that God’s Son would be born to her. Gabriel mentioned all three members of the Trinity in his announcement to Mary. When Jesus was baptized the record states that the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove and that the voice of the Heavenly Father boomed forth from Heaven that He was pleased with His Son. All three members of the trinity are in the account. Then too, Jesus’ parting words as He ascended to heaven was for His followers to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Wayne Grudem in his book, Systematic Theology, states, “We may define the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.”
We can’t understand how God can be one God and yet three persons, but we shouldn’t let that bother us. We don’t understand how our own bodies or minds work; no wonder we can’t figure God out! We don’t have to understand the trinity, just believe that this is the way God is, and enjoy God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [the Father], and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)