Paul Poulton reflects on seeing the beauty in what God has made.

Paul Poulton
Paul Poulton

Not many weeks ago I journeyed to a seaside resort on the east coast of England. The hotel room that I stayed in was surprisingly large and quite plush. All the mod-cons were there including a wall mounted large HD TV screen. "Yummy!" I said to myself, "I'll watch a good film or two on that."

Next to the telly was a window; interestingly the TV and the window were around the same size. The window had a sea view facing east, from which I spied ships on the horizon, seagulls swooping and what looked like dolphins swimming in the sea, although I'm fairly sure they were a trick that the waves were playing on me. As I gazed out of the window I sensed a pleasing and peaceful ambience - a rare quality.

I found myself sitting in my room late into the evening gazing at the sea, with a cup of coffee in my hand.

One morning I woke up early just as the sun was beginning to rise. I was awe struck by the sight and quickly got my phone to take a photo of the event; although the phone never seems to capture the sky in its glorious essence. But when I showed the photo to people at breakfast, some of the illustrious magnificence was in fact captured on my teeny hand held device.

My few days on the east coast were busy, but in the cool of the evening I made my way back to my room and swiftly found myself spell bound by the sea view through the magic window.

As I was preparing to check-out of the hotel and leave the room for the last time, I thought, hang on a sec, I didn't watch the TV. Well that's not right, is it? Maybe I should stay for an extra 30 minutes just to see if there's anything good on. Because the truth of it is: I didn't turn the TV on once! What's wrong with me?

As I thought about the reasons why I didn't watch the generously-sized screen I came up with the simple answer that there was a better programme on the window channel. The view of God's good handiwork held my attention and transfixed my eyes.

Some TV programmes are pretty good, others are poor quality, but we won't speak of that now. God's programming, however, is mesmerising, I found his show far more interesting than anything TV has to offer. King David, in the Bible, said "One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord." That's the vision I need.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish," says the Bible, or should that be "Where there is no television (that covers most of the wall in the living room) the people perish"? Being overtaken by all sorts of distractions is fairly easy: "Yeah I'd like to sit by still waters and refresh my soul, but is there a good WiFi connection there?"

Leading a simple life has a joy of its own that is easily missed in this modern age of technology - "Hey, do you know what I need to do? First thing in the morning I need to scroll through my home page, and when I do I find out really interesting things like Sarah showing me a shepherd's pie that she ate last night, there's loads of gooey gravy on it. But wait a minute, guess what? Theresa's having a cappuccino." Well that's nice for Theresa, but it's not really essential for me to know what Theresa's early morning habits are.

In Genesis chapter one God's teaches us about leading a simple life - Being content with simplicity. Eating seasonal food and trusting God to supply all our needs. Becoming like him and enjoying his peace. Jesus taught the same lesson, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, only one thing necessary and your sister Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."

The first thing I like to do each day is to hear what God has to say, so I read the Bible, and just like his programming there's always something worth seeing and hearing. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.