Thursday, December 03, 2015

Taking Time to See the Greatness of God

God’s spectacular creation has overwhelmed me at times. The total darkness of an overcast night in the Mojave desert far from any light, the snow-capped mountains that surround Kabul, Afghanistan, the crystal blue of the Adriatic sea, and the myriads of stars visible in the sky above Arizona’s Sonora desert have all awakened in me a sense of awe. On the other hand, hiking trails in Arizona and Tennessee mountains or running on German forest trails confronted me with vibrant green foliage punctuated by brightly blooming flowers. A deer pausing as it attempted to avoid my notice or a squirrel scurrying up a tree reinforced my wonder at God’s creative power. I understand, however, all too well the point that some rabbis suggested when they said that God had trouble getting Moses’ attention because he was too focused on the sheep. I wonder how many of us have the same focus on everyday responsibilities that distract us from a burning bush equivalent, a sight or experience that would envelop us in awareness of God’s otherness and nearness if they would only pause to notice. I have been distracted in that way. Besides my running, my reading has also reminded me that God’s glory surrounds me. One story that has helped me to regain my bearings is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Each year I search for a new film version of it in hope of a fresh reminder of proper priorities. Occasionally, I encounter people who I expect to appreciate God’s wonder because of their experiences, but who seem to have a spiritual twin of tone deafness. It takes me aback, and usually jolts free a memory of my own obtuseness in the presence of wonder. I have had trouble lifting my eyes to see the beauty around me after several jarring events in my life. I’m thankful for the times I have opened my eyes to behold the wonder. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Pause and marvel at the wonders God has created.

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