The Great Backyard Adventure

Linda Porter Carlyle

Trevor Paul Monroe could not believe his ears! “You mean Brad and Ben get to go do things with their youth group, and I have to go sit in the backyard? And not do anything? I just have to sit there?” he exclaimed.

Dad grinned. “That’s one way to put it,” he answered. “But it might be better to think of it as an adventure.”

“An adventure!” Trevor shouted. “There’s nothing adventurous about the backyard! I’ve been in the backyard a million times!”

“Well, this time,” Dad said, “you’re going to sit down and appreciate and worship God in the backyard.” He opened the hall closet and pulled the picnic quilt off the top shelf. “Come on.”

Trevor dragged behind Dad out the back door and trailed him across the lawn.

Dad stopped near the base of the big oak tree and spread the picnic quilt on the grass. He sat down and then stretched out on his back. He sighed. “It feels good to relax,” Dad said. “I love Sabbaths!”

Trevor sprawled beside him. “I don’t get it,” he complained. “What am I supposed to be doing?”

“Look around,” Dad said. “Open your eyes and really see what you can see. And let God talk to your soul.”

Trevor didn’t bother to answer. He was sure he had already seen absolutely everything there was to see in the backyard. And he wasn’t too sure that God would speak to his soul either.

Trevor rested his chin on one arm and stared across the green grass. A ladybug landed on a blade of grass at the edge of the quilt. Trevor slowly reached out a finger, and the ladybug climbed up on it, fearlessly.

Trevor studied the little ladybug. She looked like a tiny upside-down bowl. He wondered what it would feel like to be perfectly round and have six legs. Six legs. Did bugs ever get their legs tangled up when they walked? Trevor’s mind wandered to other kinds of bugs. Flies. And bees. And ants. And praying mantises. And fleas. “Why did God create fleas?” he asked aloud. “I mean, they don’t do anything good. They just suck blood out of people and animals.”

“I don’t know,” Dad murmured sleepily. “One day you can ask Him. Did you know,” he added, “that fleas can jump up to 13 inches? If you could jump that far in comparison, you could leap over very tall buildings in a single bound!”

Trevor grinned at the thought. That would be cool! That would definitely be cool!

The ladybug suddenly took flight, and Trevor rolled over on his back and gazed up at the branches above him. Little green leaves were already growing on the tree, and Trevor thought about how nice it was to have shade in the hot summer. It was very clever of God to provide shade for the house and the yard when it was hot and then to cause the leaves to fall off in the wintertime so the sun could shine into the windows and brighten their days. Plus, there was the fun of raking the leaves into big piles in the fall and jumping and rolling in them. Brad and Ben might gripe about raking, but Trevor thought it was fun. He looked forward to it each autumn.

Then Trevor remembered how his teacher had said that trees help to clean the air and that they give off oxygen for people to breathe. That was pretty amazing. The trees in the backyard just grew there, giving off oxygen for him every minute of every day, and he never, ever thought about it. Trevor took a deep breath.

Lungs. Lungs were pretty amazing too. He just had to breathe in air, and his lungs put the oxygen right into his bloodstream. He didn’t have to think about it at all. In fact, he couldn’t even make it happen if he tried! This made him think of all the blood racing around his body, carrying food to all his cells and fighting off armies of vicious germs—all without his even thinking about it. If he did have to think about all that stuff going on inside him to make it work, Trevor realized, he’d never have time to do anything else at all. He was suddenly very grateful that the inner workings of his body did not depend upon his commands, but that God was in charge of them!

Trevor’s gaze drifted on through the branches of the tree to the few puffy little clouds that hung in the pale sky. It would be fun to be able to just float up and sit on one of them, he thought. Or even to fly higher like an astronaut without a spaceship. To look down and see the world like a big globe hanging in space. Trevor suddenly remembered a memory verse he had learned. “He . . . hangeth the earth upon nothing.” How could that be? What kept the earth from just falling and falling through space?

Trevor’s heart answered. It was the greatness of God that kept the earth in place. The same God who created the tiny, mighty fleas and who made his own heart beat all day every day and all night. A great rush of appreciation for the awesomeness of God suddenly filled Trevor’s chest. He realized it was impossible even to think of all the wonderful things God had done and was doing every minute! And God didn’t stop doing those things even when people forgot to thank Him for them. God was faithful and dependable.

Trevor reached over and poked Dad in the belly.

“Ooof!” Dad gasped.

“I think I understand about worshipping God in the backyard,” Trevor said.

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