(To discover why this is being sent from thousands of feet above the ground, as well as to possibly win a gift, read to the end!)

“The whole multitude… began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ And some of the [Teachers] in the crowd said to him, ‘[Jesus], rebuke your disciples.” He answered, ‘I tell you, if these are silent, the very stones will cry out'” (Luke 19:36b-40–ESV)!

Am I alone in the belief that both the heavens and nature sing praise to our great God, the Creator of all?

In fact, we discover such truth directly from our Savior–the One who is The Word, who was with God in the beginning and from whose very breath life was birthed from that which had been formless and void (John 1:1-3).

Just look up at the starry night sky. Savor the intricate detail of the daffodil, even the dandelion. Pause for a moment to peer into the eyes of your beloved pet, to recognize in their reflection that which could only come from one who is Himself love.

It’s not hard. In fact, for many, the contrary is more difficult to conceive–to think for even one moment that all creation is quiet concerning the Source of its origin. After all, as Jesus said, “If [mankind] is silent…

“The very stones will cry out!”

My dear and generous husband believes this too, understands this truth to be part of my heartfelt religion–that Abba Father, in His loving mercy, gave us so many gifts in the natural world. And what’s one to do with a gift? Give praise, of course. (Although, to be clear, our worship is offered to the Giver, not the gift lest one falls into idolatry.)

On a recent get-away to Charleston, while meandering through the open market, I stopped to admire the work of a local artist. Behind her mask, I could see she was smiling, her eyes the little half moons of happiness–thankful we were appreciating her work.

“This is lovely,” I exclaimed. My eyes turned from hers and fixed on a framed depiction of a sunflower duo, their ray florets turned upward toward the sun. Though the actual orb couldn’t be seen, the sun’s presence was apparent in the manner in which the artist had captured its light upon the petaled pair.

“Thank you,” the artist, whose name I learned was Madeline Dukes, replied, her eyes growing even narrower, her smile broadening behind her mask. “Where y’all from?”

Running my finger over the frame, gaze fixed on the sunflowers, I answered. “Near Asheville, NC, a town called Waynesville.”

“Really?” she replied. “I actually painted those not far from you–in a field just outside Cashiers.”

“Wow! Small world.” I tipped my head toward her painting. “Sunflowers are some of my favorites. They’re so … happy!”

“Yes, that’s true. I named this painting ‘Uplifting’ because it looks like they’re looking up.”

“Indeed. They seem to know just Whom to thank for the beauty of the day.”

Long story short, my kind husband who knows me all too well–who’s the giver of many good and precious gifts in this life–surprised me with the sunflower painting, and it now embellishes our home.

Madeline Dukes and I have kept up a bit. Come to find out, she shares our Christian faith–believing, too, that creation offers praise to the Creator. Each time I gaze at my sunflower painting I think of the artist, who’s also my sister in Christ.

And I think, too, of the Artist who created–is creating still–so much loveliness in this world, and I rejoice, praising Him for the many reminders all around–fireflies in an open field, the constellations in the night sky, and the vast array of shells on the seashore, just to name several.

Although it’s true that perhaps stones cry out somewhere, where there’s no one acknowledging the Source of such beauty, I shudder to think I’ll ever fall short of praising Him. Honestly, I pray in earnest such never happens.

Won’t you join me and a pair of happy sunflowers? With faces uplifted, let’s give thanks to the Author–yes, the Artist of all.

What gifts from creation take your breath away, cause you to pause and thank the Creator? Don’t stay silent. If you do, the stones just might cry out. After all, they know–there are about 100 Billion reasons to thank Him! 

Madeline Dukes is a native of South Carolina and resides in Charleston. Visit her website by clicking on her name. Just think, she may have even captured something lovely near you.

***For the next two weeks, my family will be visiting God’s vast creation in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. I’ll be worshipping the Creator in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, with uplifted hands, no doubt. Prayers for our safety and health are greatly appreciated, and we would also ask that you pray for our family back home.***

Finally, how can I pray for you? Share either your request or something for which you’re thankful, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win several of Madeline Dukes’ printed notecards. (Drawing held on July 1st, 2021.)