A Devotional on Communing with God through Nature by George Washington Carver

God Is Speaking

As soon as you begin to read the great and loving God out of all forms of existence He has created, both animate and inanimate, then you will be able to converse with Him, anywhere, everywhere, and at all times. Oh, what a fullness of joy will come to you. . . . God is speaking. . . .

I ask the Great Creator silently daily, and often many times per day, to permit me to speak to Him through the three great Kingdoms of the world, which He has created, viz.—the animal, mineral and vegetable Kingdoms; their relations to each other, to us, our relations to them and the Great God who made all of us. . . . I ask Him daily and often momently to give me wisdom, understanding and bodily strength to do His will, hence I am asking and receiving all the time. . . .

We get closer to God as we get more intimately and understandingly acquainted with the things he has created. . . . More and more as we come closer and closer in touch with nature and its teachings are we able to see the Divine and are therefore fitted to interpret correctly the various languages spoken by all forms of nature about us. . . .

First, . . . nature in its varied forms are the little windows through which God permits me to commune with Him, and to see much of His glory, majesty, and power by simply lifting the curtain and looking in.

Second, I love to think of nature as unlimited broadcasting stations, through which God speaks to us every day, every hour and every moment of our lives, if we will only tune in and remain so.

Third, I am more and more convinced, as I search for truth, that no student of nature can “Behold the lilies of the field,” or “Look unto the hills,” or study even the microscopic wonders of a stagnant pool of water, and honestly declare himself to be an Infidel. . . .

To those who have as yet not learned the secret of true happiness, which is the joy of coming into the closest relationship with the Maker and Preserver of all things: begin now to study the little things in your own door yard, going from the known to the nearest related unknown, for indeed each new truth brings one nearer to God.1

A Prism into the Light

The devotional writings of George Washington Carver (c. 1864–1943) come to us from surviving letters. In one of them, Carver recounts what he calls “my simple conversion” at the age of ten. In his own words, “God just came into my heart one afternoon while I was alone in the loft of our big barn, while I was shelling corn. . . . I knelt down by the barrel of corn and prayed as best I could.”

Perhaps based on his childhood conversion, through all the public prominence that Carver achieved, he never lost his spiritual affection for young people. As an adult, after a speaking engagement to YMCA groups that came to be called “Carver’s boys,” he wrote that he “loved those boys because Christ was there.”

I love to think of nature as unlimited broadcasting stations, through which God speaks to us every day, every hour and every moment of our lives, if we will only tune in and remain so.

The umbrella concept of the selection gleaned from several letters is closeness to God. The variations on that theme are contemplations of different ways in which our experiences of nature can become the channel for communing with God. The effect of sharing the lively actions of Carver’s mind and soul is that of turning a prism in the light. By the end, we feel that we can follow Carver’s encouragement to make God a moment by moment presence through an increased sensitivity to nature. Carver’s imagination gives us metaphors to ponder and unpack. For example, the varied forms of nature are windows out of which we can see God, and radio stations to which we can listen to the voice of God. Animals, vegetables, and minerals are kingdoms. The forms of nature speak various languages.

By way of application, Carver speaks of finding God in nature because he was a scientist, but we can all frame the principle of finding God in terms of our own walk of life. What Carver says about nature, a professor can say about history or art or literature or psychology, and a homemaker about the domestic routine, and a construction worker about the process of building something. The distinctive perspective that Carver offers is his encouragement not only to see God in our daily routine but also to commune and converse with him there.

Without Excuse

Underlying Carver’s vision is the conviction that God is present in the external world, that we can therefore know God through nature and culture, and that unbelievers are without excuse for ignoring God. Romans 1:20 is a confirming passage: “For [God’s] 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 they are without excuse.”


  1. The passage by Carver, as well as the material related to him in the editor’s commentary, comes from George Washington Carver in His Own Words, ed. Gary R. Kremer (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1987), specifically the chapter titled “The Scientist as Mystic: Reading God out of Nature’s Book” (pp. 138–43). Reprinted with the permission of University of Missouri Press.

This article is adapted from The Heart in Pilgrimage: A Treasury of Classic Devotionals on the Christian Life by Leland Ryken.

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