Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Wonder of It All!

Dear Ones - It has been a beautiful weather day here in Atlanta, Georgia.  I can see from some of the comments from family and friends in Texas that it is snowy, and ice is predicted again.  We love this weather in Georgia, while those of you in Texas probably don't love the weather you are experiencing - or about to experience.

There are so many scenarios or circumstances with which we could sympathize and empathize, rejoice over, mourn about, and there would never be enough or space to recount them all - weather being one of them.  It can stop our plans, ruin our cars, be dangerous to our health, among other things.

I have friends and family today who were not worried about weather.  They celebrated birthdays and new born babies, while others mourned the loss of a loved one and gathered to honor a memory of a life cut short.

Some of us celebrated and expressed gratitude for the wonderful, long life of our parents, while others called to ask for prayer for ailing, aging parents or to report someone passed away.

Some of us celebrated great health or might just have great health and didn't even think to celebrate it; while others were ill, have been, don't understand what's wrong and needed prayer for wisdom for doctors.

Others were celebrating great promotions and raises at their jobs, while others were praying and trusting God to meet their needs; because on paper, in the world of what they could see, there was more money going out than coming it, and they were "truly" at God's mercy - but aren't we always at God's mercy?  What a blessed place to be.  We just don't tend to realize or acknowledge it when all that we see and feel is going well - humanly speaking.

I dearly love the story of George Muller who ran an orphanage in Bristol, England during the 19th century.  He said in all of the time he cared for children, he never made his needs known to anyone other than God, and there was never a bill that went unpaid, or a meal that the children missed.

He was a giant of faith and once said, "Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends."  

One particular story I always remember reading was the time all of the children were seated for breakfast.  They had cereal but no milk.  Those who were serving the children were anxious and wondered if they should just tell the children to eat the dry cereal.  George responded, "no, God knows they need milk with their cereal, and He will provide." To which they exclaimed, "but they need it now."  At that moment, they heard a knock at the door.  The gentleman delivering milk to the homes in the village told Mr. Muller that the cart had broken, and the milk would spoil before he could get it fixed (before the time of pasteurization) and wanted to know if the orphanage could use it all immediately.  Mr. Mueller said they certainly could, thanked the gentleman and told the anxious help to please serve the children milk.  Their prayer at breakfast included acknowledging God's hand in supplying the need.

Now to a 21st century story that might seem completely off subject, but just hang in there with me and continue reading.  I was visiting the Primrose School on our Support Center Campus, when I stopped to observe a little 4 year-old-boy as he was leaving with his mother.  They walked outside, and the door closed and locked behind them.  All of a sudden I heard him exclaim, "WOW!"  I stopped and opened the door just a bit so I could hear (I know, eavesdropping, right?)  His Mom said, "what Jason, what do you see?  He said, "Look, Mom, the trash truck is picking up the big trash can (dumpster).  Can we stay and watch?"  Mom didn't really answer, but stood there holding the little boy's hand as he held his hand over his mouth with eyes big with wonder.  After the truck emptied the dumpster, set it back down and pushed all of the trash to compact it, the little boy said, "Mom, isn't that the coolest, neatest thing you have ever seen? That was amazing?"  The Mom was sweet to stop for Jason because I am more than sure that as an adult, there was no particular wonder to that event for her - except that Jason saw wonder in it.

One is the story of the kind of faith I wonder if I have ever experienced.  Another is the story of the kind of wonder at something that most of us wouldn't even notice or care about.  One through the heart of faith made perfect, another through the eyes of a child.  Here's the thing, the Lord Himself said our faith must be like the heart of a child, or it's not valid.  "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:17

What is childlike faith - the kind that is perfectly trusting and views every moment of God's mercy, grace and faithfulness with wonder? I recently read something by Dr. Richard Krejcir that I thought beautifully explained childlike faith.  

He said it was the "wonder and awe at what Christ did for us. It is a synergy of trust, hope, and unpretentiousness that knows the Lord loves us and will lead us. Because of our trust in the Lord, we are more able to take comfort in Him. Childlike faith sees the world as exciting and adventurous (even the dumpster is a WOW!), and worth pursuing with our faith so opportunities to please God override our complacency and the attitude of "been there, done that," even though we may have. It is a part of us that we should never lose. It enables us to maintain our humbleness and enthusiasm and not become just a subculture or routine! We are not to act like children towards others, but our faith and example must be authentic."  

Authentic - real, living with integrity and dignity - none of us and all of Jesus.  "Show yourself in all respects to be (A)a model of good works, and in your teaching (walk and talk) (B)show integrity, (C)dignity and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."  Titus 2:7  Webster says that showing dignity means being worthy of honor and respect. 

I say this to myself with all sincerity - "Oh, Mecca, don't lose the wonder of Jesus, of His unfailing love, of His cross, of His resurrection power available to you every moment of every day, of every good and perfect gift, of your sight, your health, the wonder of sunset, the joy of spring, the awe of the whole of His creation, the abundance in the grocery story tonight - the trash can and the dumpster, the cart broken at just the right moment, the milk supplied."

I loved to hear George Beverly Shea sing, "The Wonder of It All."  Thrills my soul - shoulders raised, big smile, eyes squinted, fists clenched, make me want to squeal thrilled.  Here are the words:

There's the wonder at sunset at evening
The wondrous sunrise I see
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me

There's the wonder of spring time and harvest
The sky, the stars, the sun
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that's only begun

The wonder of it all
The wonder of it all
Just to think that God loves me
Oh the wonder of it all
The wonder of it all
Just to think that God loves me

I think of the commercial (can't remember what it was advertising) with the daddy and little boy watching the sunset.  As the sun goes down beyond the horizon, the little boy says in a whisper, "Oh Daddy, make it do it again."

We all have an audience with our Heavenly Daddy because of the wonder of His love.  We can say with every rising and setting sun, "Daddy, your faithfulness and mercy, show it to me anew, do it again, Daddy, and with all of you and none of me, I will walk with integrity and dignity with purpose and passion, in transparency so that all with whom I come contact know that I have been in your presence."

Good Night, and Sleep Sweet, dear ones.  Our Heavenly Daddy neither slumbers nor sleeps but watches over us through the night. Tomorrow is another blessed day of wonder because God loves us.  Love to you all, Mecca