Monday, March 24, 2008

Creation's Applause

It was windy today. It was supposed to be 70 degrees, but you know how it is when there’s a strong wind...it always feels several degrees colder. I washed my hair in the morning, then took a brisk walk down the lane... the wind snatched onto every bit of my hair and threw it over my face and around my shoulders as I walked. It was a beautiful feeling! I could throw my head back and see the endless blue sky through cracks in the overhanging tree branches. The branches formed a kind of arch over the lane and the brittle limbs were all rattling and rustling in the breeze as I passed underneath. When I thought about it, it sounded like a whole arena of people clapping. That’s it, I thought, God’s creations are applauding Him! He’s told us that if no one else praises Him, even the rocks will cry out in adoration – so why couldn’t the trees be clapping for their Creator?

The Lord is evident in all of Creation. The Psalms tell us, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament shows His handiwork”... He has painted evidence of His love and power and infinite wisdom into every blade of grass, every upturned flower bud, every wispy white cloud. I can hardly comprehend it, yet it’s right there before my eyes: endless rolling meadows, hazy purple mountains, and towering green trees, all pointing upwards into the incomprehensible blue sky.

It’s more than I can fathom. But if I could fathom it, it would steal this wonder I feel – and how could I bear to lose that!

Monday, March 3, 2008

For the Dreamers

I love to daydream and I’ll admit it’s a pleasant diversion from reality, but sometimes I get so set on a dream that when it slips away, I fail to see it was only a castle in the sky—a mere desire—and not a true conjecture of the future. Have you been there too?

In her book, A Path Through Suffering, Elisabeth Elliot gives her famous ‘open hands’ illustration, saying that open hands demonstrate the posture of surrender – a willingness to hand over what God wants to take and a willingness to receive whatever he chooses to place back in them. Clenched fists, closed tightly over our precious, hoarded dreams, don’t demonstrate an attitude of open surrender! I think we set too much store in our dreams. A good majority of us probably even cry when our treasured dreams turn to nightmares and slide out of our grasp. I know I certainly have!

Lately I’ve been taking even more comfort in the power of prayer and its gradual effect on my way of thinking. There was one dream in particular that I’d been treasuring for many months. At least once a day and sometimes more often, I would present my dream to the Lord and ask Him to reveal my motives for wanting it—then, I asked Him to close the doors that needed to be closed and only open the ones He wanted me to walk through. Lastly, I begged for the ultimate decision to be clear and easy. Every day, I dragged this burden to the throne of grace, until I got a long-awaited phone call. Let me say, I have never heard a door slam so loudly—I almost jumped! And not only did the door slam, the key turned decisively in the lock. Don’t you love those clear paths?!

I’ll admit I cried. I walked blindly through my room, seeing nothing, only saying “thank you, Lord” because I got exactly what I asked for—an easy decision. The sorrow wasn’t any less, but the length of mourning definitely was! Sorrow can’t last if we pray “Thy will be done” and really mean it. That simple prayer may not change our desires right away, but it will definitely adjust our outlook on the situation and ease the pain of the ‘acceptance stage’.

So, fellow dreamers, dream on and relish the pleasure, but remember to hold your dreams in open hands—wide open—ready and accepting of God’s plan, which is ultimately the perfect dream.