Monday, August 27, 2012

Morning Musings:

     The sun-shadows illuminate the sleepy trees with dancing golden bars of light. The clouds - white and detailed - are dabbed across the canvas of a waking sky. Veiled in the mist, deer nuzzle through dew-jeweled grass. Quiet stillness. 

"Have you commanded the morning since your days began, 
     and caused the dawn to know its place,
that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, 
     and the wicked be shaken out of it?" - Job 38:12-13


Evening Thoughts: 

      It's deeply summer - an August eventide full of moon glow and whispered wind hushings. Streaks of bronze and dapples of gold gild the tiring fields. Harvest time is inevitable. And the waning summer season longs to embrace it. 

"Can you fasten the chains of the Pleiades
     or loosen the belt of Orion?
Can you bring out the constellations in their season
     and lead the Bear and her cubs? - Job 38:31-32

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Insights Gained: China Trip 2012

            For three weeks in July, I went to China to teach conversational English to students. I would be the teacher - the one doing the instructing, right? That’s what I thought. But in so many ways, my position in China was as a student. I was the one taught. New understandings were opened up to my eyes. Fresh perspectives were added to my lens; misconceptions were discarded. Thankfully, I had a very gentle and wise Teacher during my stay in China. He only assigned lessons that I could handle, patiently guiding me when I hit a wall or was discouraged or just downright dumb. ;)
            God soul-stretched me. He opened up my soul with gentle prods, sweet revelations, and answered prayers. He lovingly revealed Himself to me – His way, His will, His strength, His ultimate authority. God renewed the joy of His salvation in my heart; He, the Consuming Fire, sparked my heart with a new perspective and understanding.
            For the first time in my life, I came to understand with clarity that God is truly the God of all nations. His love and plan break through all barriers – through bars of iron and gates of bronze, through language barriers and national boundaries and hardened hearts. God never changes from time zone to time zone or from generation to generation. His sovereignty knows no limit or variation. His love reaches to the blue skies here at home, as well as to the skies over China. Perhaps this all sounds so elementary, but for me to experience this revelation firsthand was profoundly impactful.
            However, more than anything, during this trip God revealed to my casual heart the precious pricelessness of secured salvation. Daily I came face to face with a people who had no hope – the vast majority did not know the name of Jesus, let alone the sweet redemption He offers. Never before had I seen such depth of hopelessness. It made me all the more conscious and grateful for the depth of Hope that fuels my life every single day. I came to realize that the precious assurance of salvation is that unexplainable peace that surpasses all understanding. What a beautiful, soaring peace it is to truly know one’s eternal salvation is secured and protected by God Himself. My eyes were opened and heart broken to see so many without knowledge of this Hope – the Hope that makes life worth living.
            Additionally, this experience in China reawakened in my heart the sweet longing for Christ’s return and the unification of the His Bride – the Church. I yearn more than ever for the glory of that coming day, when believers from all history, tribes, and nations will come together in worship before our Savior. Isaiah 25 was a chapter that I read over and over on the trip – oh, how I yearn for that Day on the Mountain. The veil will be torn from the nations. Death will be swallowed up forever, and the Sovereign Lord will wipe the tears from all faces. And we will say:
         “Behold our God upon Whom we have waited and hoped, that He might save us!  This is the Lord, we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
On that Day, our Hope will be fulfilled.

            The trip was truly soul-stirring; it was a “teaching moment” that lasted three weeks.  I will always treasure the memories of that time and cherish the relationships made and friendships forged. I thank the Lord for gently teaching me, for spiritually stretching me with great mercy and tenderness. I rejoice in all that He is doing in China and throughout the world. We serve an active God!
            “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for you have done wonderful things, even purposes planned of old in faithfulness and truth.” Isaiah 25:1