A Quadriplegic’s Autobiography by JQuisumbing
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Chapter 1 – He is Real
I’m a logical kinda guy. Not like Star Trek’s Mr. Spock exactly, but things need to make sense to me. You would think that God, who is essentially invisible and a great mystery, is beyond my ability to sense His presence. So, how is it that I am 100% sure that He is? What makes me so special? That’s it! I am special, but not just me! You all are SPECIAL because of how the Bible described our creation.
At the time of creation, God made us in His image. When talking about ‘His image’, I will get into it more in later chapters. For now, though, let me say that in making us to be like Him, our Creator hardwired in us a way to perceive Him in the things that have been made.
For what can be known about God is plain to mankind, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So that mankind is without excuse. (Romans 1:19,20 ESV)
What can we learn about Him in nature, for instance? I hope you don’t mind, I’ll just use a few examples that I have illustrated to a class of kids back when I was still on my feet. Since I especially love trees, I’ll start with the memory of one tree that had awed me a long time ago.
Back in the early 1960s, my family took a weekend excursion to the Redwood forest north of San Francisco. I was in the second grade at that time and my right leg from thigh to foot was encased in a stiff cast, a by-product of another corrective surgery. Now, this was my first time in any forest. Being among those tall trees was exciting. Imagine my nose pressed against the windshield of our old station wagon looking up at the trees. I was blown away when we actually drove right through a giant Redwood. I thought that tree was big, until I saw what my dad claimed was the grandfather of trees. It was so humongous… so colossal that I could not believe that it was real. To give you an idea how big that tree was, I recalled an old photo of it in National Geographic which showed 10 or so people encircling its base holding onto out-stretched hands. My eyes tried to follow the giant trunk up to its very top but I comically ended up toppling backward. It’s a good thing my dad was close enough to catch me.
What did the memory of that Redwood giant, or the Lonely Sequoia at Pebble Beach, or even the Grand Old Angel Oak at South Carolina tell me about God? Well, Joyce Kilmer, a famous American poet, who wrote the poem titled “Trees” (published in 1914) said it better.
“Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”
Trees are wonderful organisms. Like the giant redwood, think about what it would take for it to grow from a seedling about the size of a fingernail to growing about 400 feet tall and this is not even including the dimensions of the roots. Let’s not forget to add that it can produce oxygen, store carbon and stabilize the soil. Then, consider what it takes for this tree, at that matter, all trees to propagate themselves. Keep in mind that these things do not walk around like the fantasy Ents of Middle Earth sowing their seeds left and right. For instance, there are trees out there that have seeds that can hitch a ride on the wind. They are the whirling, winged seeds of conifers that even a slight breeze can easily launch them into the air. I used to collect them off the ground when I was a kid. The seed had two propeller-like wings protruding from its core. When I threw a handful into the air, they would hover for a moment like tiny helicopters and gently float back to the ground. And when the wind catches them, I’ve seen them fly so high that I’ve lost sight of them. Naturalists had described them as an engineering wonder. Of course, this wonder is not limited just to trees.
To be continued…
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