Sunday, August 13, 2017

Something extraordinary is about to happen

There is a swath across the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina 50 to 70 miles wide,  awaiting in breathless anticipation for what is about to happen in another week.  On August 21, a total eclipse of the sun will appear in the skies, plunging a bright day into utter darkness, when the moon comes between the earth and sun, blocking out the light.  In Nashville, where we live, it will occur precisely between 1:27 and 1:29 in the afternoon.

Image result for total solar eclipse

Tens of millions of people have purchased special glasses to observe this extraordinary event. Without protection,  eyes are permanently damaged.  Even school children in those regions have been dismissed from school to witness this once in a lifetime event. It last occurred in Nashville in the year 1478  -- 539 years ago.  None of us will be around when it visits Nashville next.

My husband and I attended a lecture about the eclipse at the Vanderbilt University observatory. The precise mathematical details were incredible, calculated and analyzed and studied by prominent PhD scholars and scientists.  Our lecturer had either his doctorate in astronomy or astro-physics (or maybe both).  He had mapped out the facts and figures in colorful charts and graphs, pointing out the exactness of this spectacular event. 

A total solar eclipse does not just suddenly appear, but can be calculated exactly in time and place, far in the past and into the future, down to the second, even where to stand along its exact path, a thousand feet on either side altering one's vision of it.  We were supplied facts on what, where, when, why, and how.   People in the audience were quite excited, peppering the lecturer afterwards with questions for clarification. The lecturer was energized by their curiosity.  He was prepared by decades of study and detailed information.

Towards the end of the question and answer period, a little three year old girl raised her hand. She said into the microphone in her tiny little voice, "But WHO made the sun and moon?"

It was as if all air had been sucked out of the room, along with all the facts and figures and models and knowledge.  The answer for "who" had been left out of the discussion, the answer for "who" was so obvious in that silence that no one -- believer in God or not-- had to answer.  The evidence of God, as Creator and designer, was blatant before us.  His Presence resounded in that room.

The lecturer was speechless.  That little girl's question hung in the air, seemingly printed in bold type and CAPITAL letters. In all of his study and deep research, he neglected the question "who.".  It was almost as if after his hour long lecture about this phenomenal eclipse, a tiny pre-school girl had set him up for this question.  The answer was obvious and profound:  God.

The lecturer stood at his podium, silent for the first time in almost two hours.  He stumbled and fumbled -- this man of elaborate explanations and equations -- and finally spit out, "Well, that's rather complicated."

Even the audience chuckled at the irony.

The presence of God is so complex, there is no end to discovery. The evidence is so obvious, even the smallest child can recognize Him.

All the calculations are incredible, because they are so seamlessly woven.  But don't forget the awe. What we recognize as beauty and wonder are only His fingerprints all over it.

So in a week, when this extraordinary event in nature spans across the skies, may the majesty of God rise up in the heart of every observer.  Things like this don't just happen.

There is design to it, nothing has changed, all the way to the beginning of time  "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."  Genesis 1.1.

Last week, I asked our four year old grandson, who is already mesmerized by study of astronomy, "So Adri, who made the sun and moon?"  He looked up at me and laughed out loud,  "God, of course!"

...let all the inhabitants of the world
     stand in awe of Him!
For He spoke,
and it came to be;
He commanded,
       and it stood forth.

                   Psalm 33. 8-9

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The only thing pathetic was my attitude


It was a long and upward trail on the side of a mountain.  There was a way through this wilderness that had been faithfully trod by those who went before me, be it rocky and full of roots that tried to trip me up.  But there was a path engraved.  I just had to follow it.

I kept my eyes to the trail.  And all I could see was dirt and gravel and roots and an occasional low spot of squishy mud.


















Kind of like an ordinary day, I thought.  Keep your head down and you'll get through this.

But as I hiked, following Bill up the mountainside, my senses began to awaken to what was around me.  And I realized that the only thing pathetic was my attitude.  Because when I lifted my eyes, God astonished me. 

I glanced to my left, and God took my breath away.






















And then, I looked up and saw a million trees singing praise.



















This was not a path through the woods, but the main aisle in one of the world's greatest cathedrals.

God does not transform the mundane and ordinary.  I am already walking through the extraordinary, and I don't even know it.  Even now.  Even today.  Even in what only appears like gravel and mud, He dazzles me with His Presence. 

I just need to lift up my eyes and see what He has wrought.  Look where I am.  Look where I am going.  Look at what is before me.  I don't want to miss out on His resounding faithfulness, bombarding all my senses. How majestic is Your name in all the earth.

I will not just get through this hard gravelly place. Things will not just be OK.  That would be missing the point. That would be missing the awe of God in this.  Because God is not all about outcomes and destinations, but the incredible journey of knowing Him more.

Where is this hard path going?  You wouldn't believe.  Don't miss the wonder along the way.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From whence does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
     who made heaven and earth.

                       Psalm 121.1-2