Thursday, February 21, 2013

Everlasting Day

A song I heard recently described God as the Everlasting Day. This struck a chord very deep within me. No night, ever again. Just glorious, unending day and day and day. 

In the Bible, Revelation talks about just this in 21:23 "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." In the future kingdom of God, there will be no more night just beautiful day illuminated by Gods glory. But we're not there yet, are we?  Well, yes and no. 

In this life we experience both night and day. Literally and figuratively. Each 24 hours brings once again the setting of the sun and the world plunged into darkness. We obviously still have night. And we can also go through moments or seasons that are marked by pain or confusion or bewilderment that it feels internally like the pitch black of night. Darkness and night are marked by fear, blindness, sorrow and long hours of unanswered questions. We do not always feel awake, alive, or lit up in life. Sometimes we want to hide in the dark, want to find a corner to curl up in where no one can see us, comfort us or question us. We feel the pull to succumb to the night. And sometimes the night feels long. If you have ever woken from a bad dream in the night and not been able to sleep, sunrise feels very far away. In the same way, if you have had to endure a particularly painful and dark time in your life, the hope associated with day could not feel further from you. So do we just wait for the distant someday when we will be in this everlasting day?

2 Corinthians 4:6 says, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ." The everlasting day resides inside of us if we have made Christ Lord. Christ's Spirit inside of us gives us a taste of that everlasting day.  

We need to know who we are in Jesus as we face the night and darkness of our lives. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 says, "But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet." We are children of the day! And we can arm ourselves with faith, love, hope, salvation as we wait for that everlasting day.

We also need to remember that even in our dark moments God, who is light, is present with us. Even in our grief, our fear, our anger, our confusion, the times that we cannot see anything because we are in the dark, God is not in the dark. Psalm 139:11-12 says, "If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."

I remember one time I had a really rough night where I was plagued by fear so strong it gripped my heart and I felt desperate, alone and without hope. There was a time in my life where this was more common, especially in the dark of night. Early the next morning, I was sitting in the living room by a large window as the sun came up. The physical presence of light broke into my dark place and melted my fear. I remember that being one of the sweetest moments, feeling wrapped tight in God's loving arms. He hadn't left me for a moment, he could see through the darkness that I experienced. But the light brought with it an awareness for me of His presence. Now I know that this same light and hope live inside me, so that even in the darkest moments, I do not need to fear. The Everlasting Day is with me.

Feel free to leave a comment sharing what you think or what you have experienced...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Out of Reach

My  baby girl was just recently in a stage where when she wanted to move forwards, she actually ended up moving backwards. (She has since progressed to a forward motion baby-style army crawl, but not yet to full out crawling). It was super cute to watch. You could see the look in her eyes when a toy was just out of reach. She wanted that toy, and was determined to get there. But the harder she tried to reach for it, push up on her arms and kick her legs, the further away she would get from it. I'm sure other parents are familiar with this stage. You can leave the room for just a few minutes, and come back to find your little one caught in some obscure corner of the room between the wall, the couch and the side table, not able to get out. Or as one of my friends experienced, the baby would end up under the couch with just her little fingers sticking out. Obviously this causes serious frustration in these developing mini people. Not only can they not reach the toy they want, but they end up in a totally unexpected, awkward and possibly even painful spot. Stuck and unable to get to where they want to be.

Sometimes I feel like this happens as we try to live Christ-like lives. I can see the life I want - living in freedom, experiencing intimacy with God, walking daily in step with the Spirit, reaching a place of victory over this struggle or that one. And yet the more I try to get there, the worse off I seem to get. The harder I try, the more I move backwards. The more I move backwards, the more frustrated I get. Remind anyone else of Romans chapter 7? "Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Thankfully it is not about trying harder to get there. Becoming more like Christ is not an object just out of reach. Instead, it is something the Spirit does inside of us. More like a baby growing. There does come a day when they can move forward and get to the toy, but it isn't accomplished purely by their will to get there and keep trying. It is accomplished by the growth that is happening in their body that over time gives them the strength to crawl forward and go places they have not been able to go before. Likewise, the Spirit is transforming us on the inside, so that one day that spiritual fruit that seems completely out of reach becomes a part of who He has made you to be.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Safe and Sound

This wintery morning I am thankful for...

  • Snow - It has been a remarkably beautiful winter here.
  • Snow plows - and those who drive them! After literally driving through some snow drifts last night, having clear roads in winter is so much more appreciated
  • Warmth - being able to look out at the snow from the warmth of home.
  • Team - met with all the youth leaders last night and deeply appreciate working as part of a team where each person has different strengths and uses them accordingly
  • Baby Babble - who knew that "ba ba ba" could be such a beautiful sound?
  • Friends - to talk to, to laugh with, to spend time with, to wrestle with life with...