A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford

“What do you miss most about your home?” I asked a beautiful young college girl, an exchange student from India. “The food,” she answered promptly. “I miss our wonderful food. Especially curry.”

I asked a young college man from north Africa, “What do you miss most about your home?” “The sand, the beautiful sand,” he answered wistfully.

After my grandfather died, my grandmother Cooke left her prairie home in west Texas to live with us in northern Illinois. One day I found her at the piano, weeping, playing “Abide with Me.” “Oh, Grandmother, what are you so sad about?” “I miss the sky,” she sobbed. “I can’t see the sky. All those trees blot out the sky.” There was no place on earth more beautiful to her than those miles of lonely prairie, where she could always see sunrise and sunset.

God created the wonder of this beautiful earth for the welfare of humankind, and no matter what corner of of earth you choose, you can see His awesome creativity.

Walt and I visited the missionaries our church supported all over the world—New Guinea, Africa, Bangladesh, Jordan, Korea, central America, Russia, western Europe, Greece. Burma. All were very different, but all were incredibly beautiful. Our missionaries invariably felt their adopted country was the most beautiful in all the world. Why? Because God’s world reflects God’s glory.

King David said, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3 (niv)

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world: The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere. — Maltbie D. Babcock

But when we think about this earth we also grieve for the terrible ways we human beings have fouled and scarred it, and our joy dribbles away. God created this lovely earth for our sustenance and joy. Covetous and rebellious human beings have made garbage heaps of once beautiful scenes. But don’t give up! God is still in charge. He has a beautiful plan for this earth that belongs to Him.

This is my Father’s world: Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world, The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and Heav’n be one.

Since this world is so beautiful, imagine how much more beautiful the new Heaven and earth will be! Because Jesus died for us, “He will be satisfied.” He will rejoice that He brought us to God. And we will live with Him in Heaven on earth forever. Yes, this is our Father’s world. Let’s never forget!