Ultimate Joy

Posts Tagged ‘Creation

As Christians, we often talk about the broken world. Since the 4th of July, I’ve personally experienced this when my body broke down. For a few days, I thought I’d caught a common cold until the symptoms were no longer common and eventually drove me to seek medical help. As the doctor patiently explained how sick I was, she also brought the good news that I’d be feeling better soon.

naturepathObviously her definition of soon and mine aren’t the same because here it is almost seven weeks later and I’m still ill. Getting better, for sure, but still reeling from the fatigue, from being numb to the world, shut in from enjoying things I love and trying to understand why this illness caught me.

There were nights I prayed to God mostly to reach out and grab hold of Someone who could heal. In the darkness, I’d question Him. “Why?” I’d cry out struggling sometimes to breathe through the coughing, focusing solely on myself and my needs.

Despite my self-absorption, God was always there. I’d feel the warmth of His love in those moments of despair. His love covered me in the middle of my doubts, when the voice inside told me I will never be well, even during the times I tried to reason away His love, He was still there.

There were times when I didn’t like the person I was during this illness. They balanced out the times when I liked myself more – when I was more patient, more empathetic, more thankful for the health of earlier times. But in the illness, I learned you have to keep running to your Maker. Even when I was afraid for my life, that there was only this illness and very little else, God was with me whenever my fear seemed overwhelming.

Isaiah 55: 12 – 13 says, “There will be no more sickness or dying, and all that’s sad will come to an end. You’ll hear it then—how the mountains will shout for the everlasting joy being born, the thorns in the thickets will no longer grow, and all the trees in the field will clap their hands.”

Even though this world is broken, and I along with it, it is still good. There is beauty here. God is glorified throughout the day. I found Him in the phone calls from friends, the offers of food, the cards, the prayers. Despite how my illness miniaturized my world to my bed, I never had to go hunting for the joy of His ways.

My apologies to you that I haven’t written since early July, but I also thank you for your grace of letting me heal, of sweet recovery and most of all, of experiencing Jesus as doctor – the one who heals not only my broken body, but my broken soul. The fallen world is still fallen and we as the Body of Christ cannot stop it. But when we show up, when we shine our shaft of light through the darkness, when we bring the warmth of a greater love, we show the world that wounds can be openings to the Beauty within us.

Today, I am praying that you will keep showing up, keep looking up, keep courageously letting your life be a spark for God’s glory.

On Sunday morning, my dog, Lily, woke me up at the crack of dawn.  My apologies to you early morning risers, but 6AM, in my opinion is not a time fit for man nor beast to be roaming about outside. But a dog’s needs being what they are, I was forced to get out of bed.

This morning, that simple act unexpectedly forced me to collide with the wonder of God. The earth was still, no traffic noise, conversation or dogs barking wafted through the air. The dew was still on the grass and bushes. The sun played peek-a-boo with the dawn sky.

His strength and power were so evident, I almost stopped breathing.

Despite not being fully awake – my eyes and ears were barely open – my heart was slightly more tender at that hour, so experiencing the presence of Almighty God seemed effortless.  It was as if God was shouting in the early morning silence. Piercing through my dreariness, His words brought comfort, “I am here. I love you. You are chosen, redeemed, loved and forgiven. See My world and yourself with new eyes.”

Currently in the midst of an emotional season of self-doubt, I’m bruised, embarrassed and suffering from a mind-soul disconnect. My brain grapples with my inadequacies, even while my soul declares my identity in Christ is not dependent on what the world – including myself – thinks of me.

In the garden that morning, this tension disappeared. I drank in all of Creation and marveled at all the things God put into place to maintain life here on earth. The trees, the flowers, the dew, the sunlight, even the snails. Things we take for granted, but they are the masterpieces of God. Even my body is a work of art – the senses that allow me to experience the world around me, the antibodies that fight off infection, my breathing in and out…

Chronicles 29:11 states, “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” The backyard reminded me creation was a gift from God, a instrument to see His glory.

When I take my focus off myself and seek God, my self-doubt is replaced by His glory. My foolish thoughts are brushed away to allow space for His grace and love. The learning begins, for His loyalty to me destroys my doubt.

If you are facing uphill battles, a season filled more with hesitation than certainty, go outside. Take a walk in the forest, go sit by a lake, experience the crash of a waterfall, follow a butterfly. Within the beauty of those things, you’ll sense His gracious faithfulness.

It is waiting for you right outside your door.