[Originally published as Blog: Nature and a Sense of Peace]
Church had just ended and I found myself engrossed in my phone outside the church sanctuary. Dozens of people milled around me, socializing and going about their business. My wife had gone to pick up our children from Sunday School, so I took the opportunity to look at my social media and email. I lost myself in my phone and shut out the world around me.
My escape from reality did not last very long. I was jolted back to rediscover the activity around me and gasped a refocusing breath to get my bearing. My escape from reality did not prove relaxing.
Escaping into our phones hardly ever does. It is a false escape.
A true escape brings a sense of peace. How often, if ever, have we gathered a sense of peace when we escaped into our phones? By contrast, even a short break into nature can provide us with a peace that relaxes our spirit.
My family and I took a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. We spent four days tent camping right next to the park in the Roosevelt National Forest. Traveling with two 5-year-olds is not as relaxing as it was before we had children and we experienced a couple of days of rain that added to the travel stress. Still, there were moments where the wilderness brought peace.
One morning I got up early and walked up the wooded hillside right next to our tent. I could still see the campground and our tent through the trees, but yet I found rest and peace during this short escape. I walked and talked with God and enjoyed the simple peace of the forest.
When I walked back to the camp there was no sudden jolt of reality, and the peace remained to help me start my day.
We can find moments of escape in nature that remind us of the peace of God. Unlike electronic gadgets, these moments provide rest for our unsettled lives and point us to God. And only in Him do we find an everlasting peace and an eternal escape.