You know the feeling you get when you wake up early to leave for vacation while it is still dark? That's the feeling I started my day off with-a mixture of tiredness, excitement, and anticipation. Wednesday morning, three of my friends and I left the apartment at 5 AM to watch the sunrise on Cheyenne Mountain. We packed the freshly-made muffins and fruit in a picnic basket and toted our creamed coffee in a cooler as we prepared for this glorious morning.
The drive up the mountain was longer than I anticipated-full of switchbacks-but as we climbed higher and higher, the landscape was breathtaking. At one point, we pulled over just to catch a glimpse of the city lights at night, thousands of feet below us. We drove as far and as fast as we could, racing against the sun to get the best view of its grand entrance. We finally found a place to pull off, and all while still dark, grabbed our coffee and breakfast, and climbed some boulders to get an even better view.
While Chris set up his camera and Katie poured the coffee, Joy and I were simply taking it all in--the crisp scent of the morning, the wind whipping in my ear, and the panoramic view of the shadowed mountains. Slowly but surely the sun began to rise. And let me tell you, there is nothing quite like it. Watching the sunrise on top of a mountain, watching the sky turn colors while casting light on the dark parts of the mountain, automatically makes for a wonderful day.
And it's moments like these when I realize how seldom I take the time to praise my God and Creator of the universe. How incredible, how majestic is our God. We have been discussing naturalism in class as of late, and I wonder how anyone can justify the absence of an orderly and brilliant Creator. A friend reminded me of a verse a few weeks ago from Romans 1:19-20:
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His 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."
Indeed, we are without excuse. The deep, existential, unexplainable sense that envelopes us at a moment like this is proof. That there is something bigger than us. That whatever, whomever is responsible for such a masterpiece deserves to be worshipped. This is our God.
- Two things have I heard.
- I always seem to have a plan. And after a brief moment--when measured against the timeline of one's life--He gracefully and graciously ruins my plan of the hour, whatever it may be, in lieu of a greater one. This has occurred in my life without fail. In light of recent circumstances, a reverberation of His love, strength, and faithfulness has echoed in my spirit. As David said, "one thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving." Psalm 62:11-12
Friday, October 29, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
I just received mail from two of my favorite people. The first was a postcard announcing Lindsay's marriage to Alex (yay!!!) with the most adorable pictures of the two of them I've ever seen. The second was a letter from Maighdlin. If you have never received a letter from her, you should wish that you had. In it she writes about paying attention to what is being revealed "about Him, others, you, your calling, and His perfect plan for your life." What an important reminder for me-for all of us, really. As I am sure you have, I have been so busy with what's become my daily regimen--learning new material, acquiring knowledge, ruminating over specific ideas with other people, among other things--that I have scarce taken time to step back and truly contemplate life's bigger questions...
I remember Dr. Ury talking during the last fall revival about how as Christians, Jesus is our Reality. I had never heard this preached before but I took a liking to the precept. It seemed profound to me, but I was too "busy" to reflect on the implications of this statement. Reality, as it relates to philosophy, is defined as existence that is absolute, self-sufficient, or objective, and not subject to human decisions or conventions. Thus, if Jesus is true reality, and if this definition really encompasses the nature of reality, then the Godhead does exist as absolute, self-sufficient, and not subject to human decisions or conventions. Does this hit anyone else like it does me? What mainly impresses on my mind is that if I really believed this to be true, there would be no place in my heart for insipid notions of self-sufficiency, subjective conclusions, or truth outside of God. The fact is that whether I believe God to be true or not, He is.
Application: Ugly as it may be, I have always had strong tendencies to want to control all things pertaining to me, from my present circumstances to my future. This desire contradicted what I knew in my head to be true about God: He died so that I might gain life where it was lost, that I might find freedom through Him, and in Him, a perfect plan purposed for my good. (Philippians 1:21; Galatians 5:1; Jeremiah 29:11). For as long as I have had a personal relationship with God, there has been this dichotomous tension, almost as if I am wrestling God Himself for control over my life. What if Jesus became my overriding reality? What if I fully believed Him and His word to be true? I do not believe I would fight Him anymore for control because I would know in my heart that He really does have a future prepared for me, better than any I could plan myself.
What is it about God that you do not believe to be true? And how does it affect the way you live your life?
Once I acknowledge God as Reality, it becomes easier for me to accept my position and to shed any pretense I have before Him and others. Along with being busy has come the feeling of being thrown into this semester and into circumstances. Unbeknownst to me, it would prove the best time of my life! I have been thrown into this community of 43 students and 10 staff members. And as all of us were sort of forced into this close-knit community, we've had no other choice but to treat it as such. On the subject of community, we read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together. To my surprise, it's amazing what being in real community can do for you and others! (Who knew?!) As Proverbs 27:17 says, "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." It has been a blessing. I will share more about community in an upcoming post.
As I said, seeing Him more accurately and acting with others as His body has given me proper (though far from perfect) perspective on my role in all of this. It amazes me that at points in time, I have valued myself more than others. Note: This is foolish. All that results from this is a skewed, self-absorbed mentality. Rather, you and I need other people to help us learn more about ourselves. In fact, I find that I learn most about myself when I realize I have just judged or disliked someone's personality, disposition, etc. I mean, what kind of pride must lie someone deep inside that would surface when I meet people with whom I automatically write off for no good reason? Ashamedly, I have identified this attitude in myself a few times, living in such close community. And thank God for grace. For helping me to understand. My heart needs to change; not them.
To address the last part of Maighdlin's letter, I am in the midst of things I've yet to sort through regarding my calling. Many questions pertaining to all of our futures have arisen through conversation and class, such as: What has He gifted you with? What are your natural abilities? What do you have a heart for? Does your career necessarily need to be your ministry? Would not the church function more properly if we as Christians took secular jobs and spent time after work doing the work of the church? Should not every area of our lives reflect our primary calling, which is to glorify God? As I said, many questions...much to sort through. But to bring it back around to the reality of Jesus:
"And why do you worry...? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" -Matthew 6:28-30
And the fact remains that whether I believe God to be true or not, He is.