Evidence of God in Nature

The unexpected beauty of ordinary

Dandelion.  The flower that thrives in difficult conditions.  A nuisance to your lawn.  A catcher of breath and dreams.  A symbol of the ability to rise above life’s challenges.

I almost missed seeing this singular white puff ball on the side of the trail until my friend, Diane, insisted that I walk back to the area and look at it.  I pulled out my iPhone 11 that has 3 camera lenses on the back and dropped to my knees in front of the flower.  I drew as close as possible to capture its delicate white globes of exposed seeds, and then I snapped a picture.  Because the sun was too bright to see the photo on my screen, I shoved my phone into my pocket and continued walking with my friends.

I have a habit of taking lots of pictures on my iPhone, reviewing them later and then deleting any pictures that aren’t worth keeping.  But when I saw the picture of this dandelion, I knew it was extraordinary and a keeper.  There it was.  A perfectly shaped heart resting on the end of a filament.  This ordinary flower brought me unexpectant joy.  It spoke love, light, and the power of God to me.  What was almost missed and deemed ordinary was not ordinary at all.  

How many ordinary things in life do we dismiss or walk by because we think they are not worthy of our attention?   In our search for the big, bold, beautiful, and extraordinary, we often miss out on what is so much more spectacular.

This unexpected perfectly shaped heart that I saw on this dying dandelion that was ready to disperse its seeds made me think of Psalms 139:14:

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

If you think you are ordinary and nothing special, then think about the words of this Psalm. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a brilliant work of God.  David says, “I know that full well.”   I need to ask myself, “Do I know this full well?”  Or do I dismiss myself as not special, not extraordinary just because it doesn’t feel like it?  But if I can find something so extraordinary about a dandelion on the side of the mountain trail, how much more should I be in awe that God created me to even contemplate this dandelion?

Another verse that the dandelion reminds me of is in 1 Samuel 16:7:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

When Samuel was searching for a king to rule over the Israelites, he assumed that Saul was the logical choice because he was tall and had the appearance as one who should be king.  But God’s criteria of a king had nothing to do with outward appearance. God looks at the heart. 

Often the ordinary carries the words of God, the heart of God and the love of God. Ordinary does not need to impress or stand out and be better than others.  Ordinary can just be extraordinary to the ones who see it. 

Finally, the third verse that reminds me of the dandelion is Matthew 11:28-29:

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Solomon was Israel’s king who reigned 40 years in extreme wealth and grandeur, yet Jesus is saying that the flowers of the field are dressed better than Solomon.  Jesus is telling us that flowers simply exist without labor or angst.  Do you notice how people automatically move towards a flower to smell it, touch it, and examine it?  The ordinary, that which grows so easily from the earth, is mesmerizing.

On that day on the trail walking with my friends, I was snapping pictures of the tall evergreens, of our smiling faces, and of the snow-capped mountain in the distance.  Everything I was seeing was big and grand.  God does speak to us in these obvious and beautiful things, but sometimes God is nudging us towards the small and ordinary things so that when we move closer to them and observe, we are met with an unexpected gift of wonder.

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