Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Sunrise

You would not believe the art displayed at this morning's sunrise. The sheer beauty of it stopped me in my tracks. I stopped running, stood silent and in awe. I don’t know how long I stood there, but after some time I became aware my mouth was hanging open in utter amazement at the craft of our amazing God. I now know why the morning stars sing and the angels shout for joy (Job 38:7).

Awed at the intensity of the amber sky, I could almost taste the sweetness of vermilion, the softness of shadows, the whispery edges of soft, fraying clouds stretched over the morning canvas. I wanted to paint it, show it, picture it so you could see it. As the sun rose, the clouds melted into long running streams. Smaller, darker clouds appeared in contrast to the primary blue sky, but they could only intensify the glory of this spectacular sunrise.

I had to go, but not for an appointment. I knew this art was for a moment only; by the time I walked home and looked back, it would be gone. God often makes beautiful, glorious things for short expressions of His brilliance, road signs for a hectic life that He is worthy of our praise, attention, love and worship. As I walked into my house, I looked back to the east. Sure enough, the sunrise had faded into the luminance of the day. Such was the way my morning began.

How often we miss Him. We pass Him on the street, we miss His might and power in small moments. We need only look beyond the obvious, and there we find the DNA of His genius, the power of His glory. According to Job 26:14, “these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” Imagine what He can do with a life canvas surrendered to Him. Imagine His greater works.

You are such a work of art of the Master. Stand in that thought and do not reject it. He’s the painter, you’re the canvas, and His glory is seen in you.

I stand in awe of the beauty He has created and recreated in you.

Ed Litton

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Turn Into the Darkness

In my early days with this unwanted friend called grief, I remember pain driving my thinking processes. I found myself considering things my heart couldn’t have borne in the days before my loss.

I readily identified with a man who suffered a much greater loss than I. His name is Jerry Sittser. Jerry is a professor at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. He was traveling with his mother, his wife, Lynda, and their four children. A drunk driver traveling in the wrong lane hit the car with such force that Lynda, Jerry's mother and his youngest child were instantly killed. In his struggle with grief, Jerry Sittser tells of a dream. In the dream he was facing west, watching the setting sun. He began to run toward the sun to stay within its warmth and glow. In his dream Jerry was running to stay up with the sun so darkness would not overtake him, but he knew he was losing. His sister Diane appeared to him and counseled him to turn into the darkness and run toward the east. By doing this he would soon see the sunrise.

For those who grieve, little things matter. Most things in life take a lesser seat on the bus when you've lost the love of your life. Running from darkness seems natural. Running into or toward darkness is counterintuitive. It requires courage but amazing trust. Facing the uncertainty you fear isn’t easy, but it does have one simple and profound reward. It takes you to a place that only a God who sees in the dark can navigate. He, being the Good Shepherd, leads us through the valley of the shadow of death. Turning into the darkness of grief holds a tantalizing promise. You will again witness the rising of the sun. When I run in the early morning hours, stars dot the Alabama sky above me. I love watching the greater light chase the lesser lights into the day. Jesus has helped me through the dark night of my soul. The most glorious part of my journey is to see Him rise over my darkness and brighten the world I live in.

Jerry Sittser writes: "I discovered in that moment that I had the power to choose the direction my life would head….I decided from that point on to walk into the darkness rather than try to outrun it, to let my experience of loss take me on a journey wherever it would lead, and to allow myself to be transformed by my suffering rather than to think I could somehow avoid it."

Whatever your darkness is, you can face it with the Lord Jesus Christ. He not only refuses to abandon you, He waits patiently to reveal Himself to you. I would not trade the revelation of my Lord in the past thirteen months of darkness for anything. Anything? That's right.
Turning into my darkness!
Ed Litton