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Today’s Truth

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork, (Psalm 19:1 ESV).

Friend to Friend

I was inside at the dining room table, writing out a grocery list, as my sons played in the backyard. The sound of their laughter wafted in through open windows. It was an unseasonably warm spring day—mid-March and already ninety degrees. Summer, it seemed, had come early to Southern California.

“Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!” the boys called. I looked up to see what was causing the commotion and couldn’t believe my eyes. Thousands of butterflies fluttered around the boys. Everywhere, as far as my eyes could see, butterflies swarmed and swirled in all directions. Immediately I ran toward my room. My first thought was to grab my phone. I needed to start a Facebook Live at once!

Halfway down the hall, I remembered I had just begun a forty-day social media fast. In addition to staying off of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I had decided to keep my phone in my room all day long so that I would be present and available to my family. But what was happening outside was amazing. I’d never seen anything like it in all my life. My thoughts swirled inside me as the butterflies swirled outside the window. I had a choice: share the spectacle with my online friends or soak it up with my family.

Not wanting to miss another minute, I pivoted and ran to the patio. The fluttering of butterfly wings brushed my skin. The slippery cool touch of my youngest son’s arms around my middle made it hard to breathe, or maybe it was the miracle of the moment. I caught my breath, overwhelmed.

“There is a God!” I cried out to the boys.

“Good job, God!” my oldest shouted out loud.

We locked eyes and then smiled. He’d remembered how I taught him to define praise when he was just a toddler. “Praise is telling someone what a good job they did. It’s the same with giving God praise. When you see something beautiful like a sunset or a new- born baby, simply tell Him, ‘Good job, God!’”

“Good job, God!” we shouted together.

All three boys were counting aloud, “178, 179, 180, 181, 182 . . .” I joined them in the counting, and we got to well over one thousand before the mass migration moved on. For the next few weeks, however, we saw at least twenty butterflies in any direction we looked everywhere we went throughout town. Others had captured the moment on their cameras, but I caught the moment in real life—the whole glorious display.

When you put down your phone, it’s easier to lift up your eyes. And when you lift up your eyes, you see not only your family and your friends, but also the glorious display of a praiseworthy Creator. Every peach that grows in our backyard, with its thin velvet skin holding back the sweetest juice, is God’s glory just waiting to be tasted. In every stream that runs cold over smooth stones, God’s laughter can be heard. In every thunderclap, God’s creation gives Him a rousing round of applause, inviting us to do the same.

Unfortunately, as soon as the skies begin declaring God’s glory, I’m often posting a picture of it along with a time-consuming stream of hashtags: #psalm19 #theheavensdeclarethegloryofgod #praise. . . Sadly, during those sacred moments when my head is bowed over my phone, I miss seeing the setting sun transform the sky from mango to magenta as the Master Craftsman splashes heavenly hues across the canvas of heaven.

Though those first moments sincerely stun me, I am quickly distracted from the celestial service in the sky by an overwhelming urge to post it online. And though I feel joy in sharing the image with my online friends, the truth is that I experienced only a few moments of glory when I could have soaked it up for another seven minutes. In my attempt to share His glory with others, I often miss out on so much of it. I miss much when I share much. Since I don’t want to miss out on these precious moments (with my most precious people) I purposefully practice these screen time sabbaticals multiple times throughout the year.

Let’s Pray

Good job, God! The rocks and the sunset and the skies cry out that You are marvelous! Help me to lay down my distractions so that I might lift up my eyes and lift up my praise!

In Jesus’s Praiseworthy Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn  

Do you spend hours each day looking down, and maybe feeling down too? Perhaps you’d like to look up and enjoy witnessing God’s glory on display… you’re just so distracted. What would happen if you set down your phone and shut down your laptop for 40 days?

More from the Girlfriends 

Do you need to look at your phone less and God’s creation more? If so, consider joining me on a 40 Day Social Media Fast. Exchange your online distractions for real-life devotion to Christ and the loved ones He’s put right there in your real-life. Find out more at 40daysocialmediafast.com

© 2020 by Wendy Speake. All rights reserved.

7 Responses to “Looking Up to See God’s Surprises”

  1. Bernadette says:

    There is beauty all around us.

  2. Leisa says:

    I thank God for this wonderful message and His messenger! This devotional confirmed for me what God had already put into my heart over this weekend. After checking my screen time I knew it was time for a media fast so that I can be “present with my family”. Once again, thank you for your encouragement and may God continue to bless the GID Team.

  3. Gaylon says:

    God’s perfect timing for me to read this as I just deleted Facebook from my phone. I do not use other social media platforms, and I was thinking I will be “disconnected” from the world and everyone. Your devotional reminded me I will be “connected” to who I need to be connected to. I can do it the old fashioned way… face to face, phone calls, letter and cards, and even FaceTime. I had heard people say they spent a lot of time on social media and I thought I didn’t until I realized I did. I still have Facebook but just not as easy to get to it as I was mindlessly scrolling through it several times a day looking for updates.

  4. carol says:

    Thank you for this great reminder!
    Just yesterday, we had bad weather all day; high winds, heavy rains; truthfully, I was afraid of the forecast.
    We lost power, and all in that same hour as I looked out side, the rains had slowed down, and there were beautiful pink clouds against a soft blue sky!
    My husband and I just looked, in silence.
    It is true, God shows us glimmers of his art work, even in the worst situations. He just shows us, if we are paying close attention, He is right there!
    Bless you, Wendy, in doing God’s work!

  5. Jada says:

    I join in the belief of looking up instead of on the cell phone. I have always been connected to the nature and beauty that God has given us. Praising God for his wonderful surprises that He shows us daily. I enjoy the outdoors, the beaches, the mountains and any flow of water… your references to the water over the rocks being God’s laughter, I hear it.
    I could not help it this morning to play Handel’s Messiah and listen to “And the Glory of the Lord” it speaks and it reveals His Glory, just as those butterflies appeared to you all. God’s voice is there and the beauty is revealed.

  6. Cathy says:

    Thank you Wendy for this beautiful message to stop & enjoy everything God has given to us. I love your beautiful butterfly story & how you connected with your sons. We had horrendous storms with high winds yesterday (lots of storm damage); I marveled at the winds & blowing trees & it seemed like minutes later we had sunshine & beautiful blue skies; then later the black, ominous clouds. Storms scare me, but I’m fascinated & in awe of what I see during storms. Then, last night, the sight of the oh so many twinkling stars stopped me in my tracks; I stood there for several minutes just taking it all in. Yes, thank you God helping me see & appreciate your glorious works.

  7. Kathy says:

    It’s true when we are trying to capture a picture for social media, we miss the beauty that we are wanted to share.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8