Thursday, November 25, 2010

thank. you.

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man that you are mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” ~ Psalm 8

It was a balmy October evening, little more than a year ago, and Dutch and I were standing in the middle of a teeming parking lot under a star-studded sky. We were in a part of town I had never visited … and I balked at what I saw: panoramic views of city and mountains lapped against us like waves. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen in the seven years I had lived in Tucson.

There, in the darkness, I felt chastened, as though God were hurling me a question: So this is the desert you so abhor? The barren wilderness, the stifling dead land, in which none of my wonders are made manifest?

Tears filled my eyes as I clasped Dutch’s hand and breathed a quiet prayer, “God, thank you for bringing me to a place so steeped in your grandeur, its beauty a testament to your glory.” Then, in a spasm of impetuosity, I added a postscript: “And Lord – if it’s necessary that we should remain in the desert, would you allow us to live in a place where we can better experience its beauty?”

Suddenly I felt childish, and stole a sly glance at Dutch. “Well,” I said, laughing, blushing, bashful, “the worst He can do is say no, right?”

I was aware that perhaps it was an indulgent thing to ask. But I was still thinking about the conversation I'd had with a wise old friend that very afternoon. I had expressed frustration with myself – wanting to be rid, once and for all, of the desires that caused me to battle with discontentment, but my friend reminded me that God is my Father. “It’s okay to ask Him for things,” she had said. “He wants you to ask – freely… but to accept His answer, whatever it is, trusting that He alone knows what is best for your soul.”

Days, weeks, months passed and I forgot all about the prayer. It wasn’t 'til last month, as Dutch drove me up for the second time to view the house that would become our home, that I chanced to remember it… Not five hundred yards away - whipping wildly in the wind - stands a flag, the flag that marks the very parking lot where we stood last fall, without the slightest inkling of what God had in store.

We have lived here only three weeks but still, each time I pass a window and look out upon the vast expanse of mountains, sky, and stars, an unspeakable mixture of disbelief, unworthiness, and overwhelming awe rise up together from the very depths of my soul.

To the north, the shadowy peaks of the Catalina mountains loom, dusted with saguaros like candles on a cake. To the south, straining far in the foggy distance, I can glimpse the violet hills of Mexico. Each evening the sun never fails to sink behind the blue-black mountains without putting up a fight – an extraordinary show of colors which no human language can adequately describe.

When at last the sky darkens, the city becomes a bed of glittering jewels, a black sea, churning with lights; and in the daytime, the view from high up on the hill betrays a landscape that is anything but withered. On the contrary, the city is blanketed in green: green trees, green brush, even a few brilliant patches of lime-colored grass.

In response to all these sights I cannot help but feel very small; and in this case, as in few others, I know my feelings are entirely justified: for I am small - but one body of swirling life and activity, absorbed in its own particular interests and concerns, in a great sea of other bodies, absorbed in other activities and plagued by other concerns.

It is impossible to conceive how the God of the Universe, whose attentions are at every moment turned to the great and important matters of the world, can also be so humbly and lovingly concerned with mine… And yet I am constantly confronted with evidence that He does; that He is.

It is an unaccountable blessing… a gift which, like salvation, I cannot take an ounce of credit for. So what must I do?

I think I'll start at the very beginning: by saying thank you.

"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 lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle....The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him." ~Psalm 103.1-5, 8-13

1 comment:

Judy said...

I cried as I read this the first time ... I cried as I read it the second. It touches such a deep place. ~ One part of me recalls the year I lived in the desert and would scour the landscape for it's beauty, for the season changes ... for "something". And when I would find it, when I would "see" it, when God would create that delicate flower that flourished when it should have faded, as if no one had told it that this was not a place for it to grow, how full and refreshed my heart would be. ~ We are moving into the season of gray, cold, bone chilling, slushy-windy days here in Chicago. Soon to be frequently home bound due to weather or winter colds, my heart sinks as I see it arrive, two little boys and no where to run. And then, God shows up, and everything changes. again. (that, and there's the promise of the first snow!) thank you God, thank you, Heather.