What does an early morning obedience yield?
#1—My story is part of a bigger drama.
#2—There is coming a day when the graces and ills of said story will weave a completed and understood work.
#3—My full participation in that story has come with a costly price tag.
But for now, in this moment and on this day, I only see glimpses. I feel them in part. I hear them in fragments, but rarely do I fully grasp them. They are but reminders of an unseen reality that is working diligently on my behalf. Yours too.
And lest you think that you don’t need them—that your faith is so strong, so deep, and so mature so as not to look for them—then may I suggest that your faith bleeds weak? A faith that doesn’t look for reminders is a faith that poses little threat to the enemy and his many schemes for destruction. A faith that refuses its growing is a faith that falls prey to its burying. A faith that doesn’t need moments of breath-taking glimpses of God’s glory is a faith that expects little. Hopes little. Lives little.
I want a big faith. My today longs for it. I desperately need the hope of the faith that I so boldly proclaim. Why is today’s need more profound than yesterday’s? What prompts the search for faith?
Hurting hearts, that’s what. And mine is breaking today on behalf of a friend. The doctor’s report didn’t spin they way that we had hoped. The longed for conclusion was for remission. The reality spoke otherwise, and today, she is left with her questions and her decisions and with a heart in need of a few reminders that her God is good and that he has her in his watchful care. I am in need of a few myself.
Thus, I went looking for some of God’s sacred reminders this morning. First, in a book. Second, in God’s Word and thirdly, outdoors in God’s creation. I found them—my glimpses of hope; not because they weren’t there all along, but rather because my eyes and my heart were inclined toward perception.
#1—John Eldredge’s book Epic: the Story God is Telling, is a reminder to us that our stories are part of a bigger drama. That we were created with that drama in mind and that our individual parts are the central and key components in making the story come alive with a richness and depth that bring color and texture to the whole. Without our participation, the story reads with gaps. Your life and mine were meant to fill in those gaps. We were intended to be a part of God’s story. Epic gives us the permission to participate accordingly.
A gentle reminder of the bigger picture around 1:00 AM.
#2—Exodus 15 was the Scripture text for my morning devotion. A song of deliverance sung by Moses and the Israelites after walking their faith through on dry ground.
“‘In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling…. You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance—the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established. The LORD will reign for ever and ever.’” (Exodus 15:13, 17-18).
God’s mighty and outstretched arms were more than enough to lead a people from captivity to freedom. This has always been his way. His arms and his stretch, reaching long and wide and high and deep on our behalf and for his kingdom come. His strength will lead us home. To the mountain of his inheritance where breath-taking glimpses of his glory will be viewed in their entirety, forever and for always.
A gentle reminder of the bigger picture around 6:30 AM.
#3—The F-15 Strike Eagles were out in large force this morning as I took to the streets for my usual run. They are hard to miss. Their noise makes it so. Living in a military community requires my frequent notice of these tactical fighter jets that are designed to penetrate enemy defense and to outfight enemy aircraft. They hold my wonder and my constant gratitude.
The F-15’s fly with a bird’s eye view of their below and with a breathtaking view of God’s above. The men and women who pilot these aircrafts are doing so on our behalf. For the freedoms we now embrace and for the freedom we hope to remain. It comes with a hefty price tag. That is the way of freedom.
It costs. It exacts a price. It requires a sacrifice. It is a gift undeserving, yet willingly given. As it is with the F-15’s so it goes with my Father who willingly paid the price for our spiritual freedom through the sacrifice and his one and only Son.
A gentle, yet forceful reminder of the bigger picture around 8:00 AM.
A book that weaves a story of Epic proportions. A song that sings a story of deliverance. A plane that flies a story of protection. Three sought-after reminders. One conclusion.
God’s still writing the story … with his deliverance, with his protection, and with the bigger picture in mind. And while I cannot always fully see his hand in the matter, I can see the tracings of a greater Epic. One that allows me a few lines of participation and a few minutes on the stage. And the stage, my friends, is always a good place for a few humble reminders.
Today I am humbled, even as I am hurting. I am reminded, once again, that the best is yet to be and that I walk toward that best with God’s deliverance as my cloaking, with his holy intention as my guide, and with his protection as my shield against the enemy’s plans to the contrary.
I can walk home with a bigger purpose in mind. So can my friend. So can we all. Thus, let us walk it with God’s truth as our song:
“Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of the LORD. But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 52:11-12).
Our covenant Father, Yahweh, sets our course as he leads the way. The Creator of the entire Universe, Elohim, guards our steps and keeps watch over us from behind. From beginning to end, we are nestled in between the Sacred. Find your rest in this reminder today.
Copyright © November 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved
I was so blessed by my reading of John Eldredge’s Epic, I want to make a few copies available to my readers. Simply leave a comment, and I will pick the winners by week’s end. Shalom.