Sometimes it feels like Dan and I live in paradise. But, actually, we don’t. In reality, we live in a beautiful little canyon on the edge of the rugged Cascade Mountains. Our home is surrounded by majestic pine trees, a wide variety of birds, deer, and sometimes even bear.
In the intense quiet of summer mornings in the canyon–every day–I wake early, while it’s still quite dark, and take my coffee and my Bible to the front porch where I sit all alone, savoring the incredible stillness, the pre-dawn chirping of birds as they herald the day, and the graceful moments of early dawn. From the back deck, the sun’s faraway rays are visible as they creep over the distant mountain tops, and the clearness of the sky above the mountains indicates that it’s going to be another beautiful day. But from my front porch, where I sit, there’s only pre-dawn darkness yet.
I don’t know how many times I’ve read through my Bible there. So many times, certain scriptures became clear and alive during those early morning hours. So many prayers went up, and communion with God was intense and vitally alive through times spent on my porch. It’s the most inspiring place in the world, yet every morning, as the canyon begins to gradually fill with light, and the first rays of the sun begin to slither through the trees, my Bible drops to my lap for a little while, and I am stirred, again, with all the breathless anticipation of a wedding procession. It’s as though I’m part of an audience of hundreds, heads turned toward the entrance, waiting for that first glimpse of the beautiful lady. And then there it is! The majesty of the sun fully appears, with all the grace and glory of a bride fixed on the one she loves. This is amazing. It’s a breathtaking miracle! Every morning.
Overwhelmed by its beauty, I tried to capture it with my camera one morning, and the result is what you see at the top of the Autumn Song website, the design work of my son Joel, who succeeded in using my photograph to communicate the intense amazement I experience every time I witness God’s creative and sustaining power when the sun majestically breaks through the trees of our little canyon.
I need this constant reminder, because the irony of it is that as the day wears on, I end up spending far, far, far too much of my time worrying or complaining about the most trivial, ridiculous details of life, and yet too often miss these most amazing evidences of God’s mighty power, sustaining us moment by moment. Every morning, through His mercy, He sustains us by this miracle of His creation, yet sometimes I cannot believe that I have gone through a full day, or a week, or even a month or more without taking the time to gaze at the magnificent starry display spread out across the night sky, suspended in the vast galaxy of His design… or stood in awe at the full, bright harvest moon hung in this incredible system that God brought into being merely by the powerful sound of His voice.
Dan and I had the wonderful opportunity of watching an IMAX film this past year on the photography shot in space by the Hubble. The film delved into the vastness of the galaxy, into continuing galaxies, and far into the vastness of outer space. It was amazing and humbling. We left the theater speechless, undeniably aware of how small we were within the greatness of God’s amazing creation.
In her book, “Heaven, Your Real Home,” Joni Eareckson Tada described the vastness of God’s creation. “Our solar system has a diameter of about 700 light-minutes. That’s eight billion miles. But the galaxy in which our solar system is contained has a diameter of 100,000 light-years. Not minutes, but years… Our little galaxy, which is 100,000 light-years wide, is just one of billions of other galaxies out in the cosmos. I can’t comprehend such gargantuan distances, nor the breathless enormity of space. Billions of stars and planets, all created by God…”
And yet the truly amazing thing is that, as miniscule as we are within this awesome creation, He has chosen to create and sustain us daily through His mercy, and with a love that I simply cannot comprehend.
How ridiculous that in our small, limited field of vision, we are constantly looking elsewhere for miracles, for evidences of God’s power. Yet it’s right here in front of us every single day, a breathless display of God’s mighty power and greatness.It’s pretty silly that as humans, we have such a ridiculously inflated idea of who we are. Creation ought to humble us. It ought to turn our affections and desires away from ourselves, and focus like a magnet on the wonderful, amazing glory of who God is. We ought to be speechless at how wonderful He is.
Psalm 19 tries to capture our attention, and direct us to this reality. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard… In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber.” Yes, and Amen!
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