Reading Time: 4 minutes

A van that lets you work by the river: Finding rest for the soul in nature

A van by a river
© industrieblick/stock.adobe.com

Why work from home when you can work from a van down by a river? 

That question was posed in an article I recently saw online.  

For those of us who have been working from home for months, the thought of new scenery, especially a river or lake, sounds appealing. As the article points out, most of the population is wondering when we can return to our office, or to some normalcy.  

One vehicle company has come up with a concept for a “mobile office,” a work van that has an office pod fit neatly into the back with a desk, computer, and all the works. If you decide to go down to the river to work, the pod on wheels slides out, allowing you to work “in tune with nature.”  

There is even a rooftop deck with a lounge chair and a fold-out umbrella for breaks.

The last rooftop feature is what convinced me that taking my office on the road is not a good idea. I would be spending all my time “in tune with nature” and not with work. 

“On your wondrous works”

I love nature. When I have my quiet time each morning, I watch birds outside the window feasting on a couple of bird feeders. When my in-laws had a mountain home, my favorite activity was sitting on their deck overlooking the valley, watching the hummingbirds flocking to their feeders, or the deer that wandered up looking for food, or the family of foxes my in-laws fed.  

At night, I sat on the balcony outside our bedroom and watched the stars come out until the sky was one big canopy of God’s glory. The psalmist tells us, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4).  

There are an estimated 100 billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, according to NASA. And there are countless others in other galaxies. Imagine naming all of them and making sure they are all in place! The Creator God who calls out the stars by name also measures the heavens with his hand (Isaiah 40:12).  

God offered comfort to the Israelites in Babylonian exile by pointing to his glory in the night sky: “Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).  

The night sky away from city or neighborhood lights is one of the most remarkable sights of God’s creation. Every constellation becomes visible. Stars become a blanket covering the sky. We miss so much of what the early Christians experienced. 

David praised God through creation: “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate” (Psalm 145:5).  

The psalm many of us learned as children teaches us that, as a Shepherd, God leads us in “green pastures” and “beside still waters” (Psalm 23).  

When Jesus taught his disciples, it was often in settings of nature, as was the case of the Sermon on the Mount when he told the disciples, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28–30). 

When Jesus retreated from the crowds, it was often to places he could be alone with the Father in nature. 

Nicole Mullen’s song “Redeemer” is one of my favorites. Her lyrics speak to my soul about our Creator: 

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star? 

The very same God that spins things in orbit
runs to the weary, the worn and the weak.
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken,
they conquer death to bring me victory. 

Now I know my Redeemer lives.
I know my Redeemer lives.
All of creation testifies.
This life within me cries.
I know my Redeemer lives. 

You might find me with a van by the river (if I had a van), but it won’t be to work. 

As Scripture says so well, the divine nature of God is revealed through the world he has made (Romans 1:20), and I will be enjoying his glory.