God boggles my mind! How can He have no beginning and no end? Why is He pure love and not self serving? How can He create the universe and still know and care about me personally? When I try to comprehend the fullness of God I feel like an ant trying to understand a human. But then I look at Jesus. I hear His words, “if you have seen me you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9) I see Jesus’ nature of forgiveness, love, compassion, humility, and self sacrifice. I hear His words telling me of God’s desire to have me with Him for eternity. It still boggles my mind, but I know it is true. I can’t, nor do I have to, comprehend all that God is. I only have to see Jesus and rejoice in the fact that God sent Him to bring me to Himself. And I bow before Him in worship.
I wrote yesterday about God being a God of beauty, and where we see something beautiful we can rejoice in God’s gift. But thinking further about this, it is important to foster that which is beautiful. This world gives us so much that is harsh, ugly, mean, exploitive, and explosive. Whether in entertainment, games, action toys for kids, or numerous other places, the very opposite of God’s beauty is promoted. I understand that we live of a rough world, and we can’t have our heads in the sand, but where it is up to us in where we go, what we buy, gifts we give, what we watch or listen to, we can strengthen that which is good and beautiful. Paul wrote, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things….And the God of peace will be with you.”(Philippians 4:8)
Beauty is a quality of God. Whether it is in music or art, a field of wild flowers or a sunset, beauty points to the Lord. The creative desire that is in, I think, almost all people, is the desire to make something that is beautiful, functional, helpful, or in some way improves our surroundings. This is of God. We may not consider ourselves artists, or even very skilled at many things, but wherever we seek to make or do something good, that is a desire from God, and honoring of God. This is not pantheism where people says that God is in everything. But God, Himself, is beautiful, and wherever there is true beauty, whether in a well prepared meal, or a great symphony, that desire to create is from God. Let us give thanks and rejoice in our God of the greatest beauty.
What is infinity? I have a large window beside my desk looking out on the back yard. If I look above the trees at the end of the property I see clouds which are perhaps several miles away. On a sunny day the sun comes up just over the large oak tree on the back corner. That is, we are told, 93 million miles away. Beyond the sun, the next star is 4.5 light years away – whatever that means! And then out into the universe. You see, we quickly get beyond any numbers we can truly comprehend. But there is One bigger yet. “You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.”(Nahemiah 9:6) This is our God, infinite beyond comprehension. Yet He made each one of us, and calls us personally to be a part of His life. He is our God of infinite love, and worthy of all our love, devotion, and worship.
We have a short and a long memory in the wrong places. I’m not talking about senior moments. We tend to have a long memory when we’ve been injured by someone, and a short memory when it comes to the good. Too many people let the offenses of others eat in the stomach like an acid drip, but when it comes to the blessings that God has provided, have trouble recounting them. A good practice, and especially for the sake of our stomachs, is to let the bad go, forgive, and “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). And as far as God is concerned, remember David’s word in Psalm 103, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle” (vss.1-5). Then our memories will be in the right order.
A grandfather was trying to teach a little boy something new. The boy, being a bit stubborn as little boys can, was resisting his efforts, and trying to do it another way. The boy finally looked at his grandfather and said, “I know best you do!” Isn’t that the crux of the problem parents, grandparents, and God as our parent, often face? That self-will, once having been released in the Garden, has never been silenced. The grandfather wanted the very best for his grandson, as does God, our Father, but it takes a willingness to yield, and listen. This is something we don’t do very well. We all have that tendency to say, “I know best you do!” The Lord said through Isaiah, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength” (30:15). The more we are willing to yield our will to the Lord, the more we grow, learn, and know the best He has for us.
Can you imagine receiving an instruction from the Lord like Abraham received? “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s house, and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). We would have to be pretty certain that it was the Lord who was speaking, and even then, would require a tremendous amount of faith and trust. We are told that Abraham (Abram, at that time) obeyed, and from that obedience a great people of faith was born, beginning a line that would lead to the Messiah. No, it is difficult for me to imagine receiving that kind of instruction from the Lord. Nevertheless, it is the kind of trust our Lord is asking of us. Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life. Your heavenly Father knows what you need” (Matthew 6:25-34). This is not a command to leave our home, but we are called to trust the Lord for all parts of our life, and not be afraid. It is this faith the Lord seeks in all of us.
There are a couple of sayings that are fairly common and generally believed: “All’s well that ends well.” and “The end justifies the means.” But are these really true? They view life strictly in a pragmatic way, and assume that, if the end result seems good, it really doesn’t matter how we got there. I think it does matter a great deal. The means have to do with the internal values of a person. While the results are only a temporal solution to a problem. God is always more interested in what is going on in the heart of a person than just the results that are achieved. And conversely, God can take any results, even those seemingly quite bad, and use them for the eternal good of a person. This is what God meant when He said to Isaiah, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (55:9). God is looking for hearts, not results.