Have you ever wanted to stop your car in the middle of the road to stare at the sky?
I felt that way this morning. There was no place to pull over, but I wished there was. The sun pressing hard against the fog made everything golden. Hazy. Like a holy blanket.
And this girl loves herself a blanket.
But I drove on, willing myself to keep my eyes on the road where they belonged. And I thanked the Lord for that- for the fog and sun and the holiness of it.
Because if He sustains everything, if everything is held together by Him, then He is in everything.
When I sit in the bathtub, breathing in chamomile bubble bath and squeezing my eyes tight against hot tears, He is there. He is the creater of water. And tears. And the heart beating wildly, or sitting heavily, within me. He is in the fog and the sun and the quick inhale of awe and wonder when the beauty of this world takes me by surprise.
And I got to work and I walked through red and yellow and orange leaves, thick on the cement, wet and trampled but still vibrant. And again, I saw Him there- in the delicate shape of the leaves, in the almost other-worldly hue of them, and in their proclamation that change–letting go, surrendering to the seasons–can be beautiful.
But when I left work for lunch, the leaves were gone- replaced by black garbage bags full of that which had captured my attention just a few hours previously.
And it made me kind of sad to see God and beauty in something that someone else threw into a garbage bag and tied tight.
Maybe everything is holy.
In a book I was reading yesterday, the author said she has made it a habit to bless everything and everyone- to call out (silently or aloud) the God in them.
She let herself stop and marvel at a stick on the ground, wondering how long it had been there, whether or not it had ever been a perch for a bird. And she thought about how some might not understand- after all, it was “only a stick”…
but we are “only” human.
And in the end, we all return to dust and dirt. At least the physical part of us does. And she blessed the stick for its life and for its contribution to this world and for the fact that it shared with her the quality of having been “created by God’s own hand”. And she thanked God for the stick that had stopped her in her tracks.
Maybe everything is holy.
“The world needs you to do this–to bless, offer a benediction, something to send people on their way–because there is a real shortage of people willing to kneel wherever they are and recognize the holiness holding its sometimes bony, often tender, always life-giving hand above their heads. Being willing to offer blessing to one another is miracle enough to stagger the very stars.”
And as I read that yesterday, my coworker sneezed. And reflexively, I said, “Bless you.”
And then I smiled. Because I suspect that God had timed that sneeze with my new-found lesson on the importance of giving blessing, and He gave me an opportunity to put it to practice right away.
Oh, to see the world with a divine perspective.
To see my tears and heartache and longing for Him the way that heaven does.
To see clearly. To be filled up with hope and life and a bubbling awareness of how truly God deserves our praise.
To be so full of heaven that the lies of hell don’t stand a chance- not in my head, and not in my heart.
Who are we but dust?
The only thing about us that makes us magic–that makes us emotional, beautiful, passionate, intelligent beings–is Him. Apart from Him, apart from his breath in us, we are soil.
And so, if we love Him, and we reflect Him, how can we hate ourselves or another?
How then can we look into someone’s eyes and not see Him?
I’m scared. And I will acknowledge that to be sin. I will fight fear with truth. But right now, in this moment, I will also confess that I am afraid.
Life is hard.
And me? I’m hard too. I am a lot of work. My heart and mind and emotions–trying to get them to submit to the authority of heaven–it’s a constant struggle.
And death? Knowing that’s where all our lives are headed? It’s a beautiful promise, the promise of heaven, and one I eagerly await, but dying? Potential suffering? Leaving people grieving? Not knowing exactly what to expect on the other side of this life? That’s really, really hard.
And there’s no avoiding it. There’s no avoiding life and there’s no avoiding death.
I’ll say it again, everything is a call to surrender to Him. It’s too heavy to hold on my own. I can’t carry the realities of this world, or even the realities of my own soul.
And in that surrender, I readily confess again (and not for the last time, I’m sure) that I am not my own.
If my life isn’t mine, it becomes less scary.
If I’m not striving to feel okay or be loved or bypass this life in exchange for finding rest in His arms, if I’m not trying to take over as the one who numbers my days and has a good plan, then I can just breathe. And come what may, I can say, “It is well with my soul.”
In that same book I referenced earlier, the author tells about a man who was praying big, hopeful prayers. And when she asked if he believed God would fulfill them, he said, essentially, “I don’t know. But I know God cares what I’m feeling. So I say it all aloud and trust Him to sort it out and do what’s right.”
And that made me think- how much of this spiritual walk is done in faith? How many words are said to heaven and then left in the Almighty’s capable hands? And it made me realize that holy things are holy–alive and radiating with His presence and breath–regardless of whether or not we understand. Prayers are holy, even if it feels they are going unheard.
Or in Mexico. Most of the time in church, I didn’t know what was being said. Hands were lifted, shouts of joy proclaimed, tears wept. But I didn’t need to understand the language to know these people had gathered to fall on their knees at the feet of their God. They had met to love each other.
I didn’t need to understand the language or customs to know that I was witnessing something that demanded reverence.
I’ve been meditating on the word “seek”. When scripture promises that if we seek, we will find, our only role in the fulfillment of that promise is to seek. It is He who allows Himself to be found.
And how desperately I need more of Him.
So I want to seek. Earnestly and passionately.
And seek? The original meaning of the word?
It feels dangeroulsy bold to demand anything of the King of the Universe.
But if I need Him like I need air, if I require Him to sustain life… then maybe demanding is appropriate.
You promised You would provide our needs. And I NEED You.
You promised You’d let yourself be found, that we’d see Your glory if we just believed. Lord, remember Your promises. Thank You that You keep Your promises.
Lord, I will wait. I will wait for the fulfillment of those promises.
I will see You in foggy mornings and starry nights and the beating of my heart.
I will see You in scripture and in the people I share this planet with and in the irrefutable holiness of prayer.
And I will wait. Because I know there’s more.
You are not done revealing Yourself to me.
I need You with wholehearted desperation.
I need You because nothing else will satisfy.
I need You wildly, recklessly.