Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Glorious Gift

This morning, on my commute into Charlotte, I prayed before I even started to have the right heart as I drove in very slow and often stopped traffic. I prayed that I would not find irritation but invitation to commune with God while I commuted to work. Instead of allowing the frequent sitting still a frustration that would build into anger, I opened my heart to the very sunrise God was providing that morning. The golds and yellows and reds and oranges were subtle and gorgeous. How many great artists' masterpieces would pale in comparison to the Creator's handiwork. Yet how many other drivers around me were unaware, focusing their energies on the delays and stops and starts? 

I began to pray.

I prayed for those who have asked me to pray for them daily. It has truly become some of the favorite parts of my day to engage in lifting them up into the very presence of God like a sweet smelling aroma. I hoped the incense of my words and my silence would not only soothe myself from my circumstances but would manifestly and tangibly be felt in the lives I was praying for. The list has grown since I first started. 

Yet as I was admiring this beautiful sunrise, I felt that this day was a glorious gift. One of the women I pray for daily just had a baby. She held the very miracle of creation in her hands and understood, once more, the words God spoke in Genesis, "It is good." But how many of the other people on my prayer list weren't? How many might be struggling through this day and slogging through the wilderness?

I prayed that wherever they were and whoever they were with, that God would open their eyes and their hearts to the miracle that being given this day, this life to live in this moment, was, indeed, very much a gift. How easy it is to forget when we are stuck in traffic, or in a doctor's office, or in a classroom or boardroom or washing yet another load of laundry. 

How many of the people in the cars around me were missing out on this?  

How many of them were ignited by the ineffable that was so miraculously before them in the sky?

"Holy, holy, holy" Isaiah writes, "the earth is filled with His glory." There it was in the very skyline before me. This was a reminder of His holiness, His glory, and His love for us. "His mercies are new every morning" and this sun slowly and gently peering through the clouds was hinting at this bountiful merciful God who lets us see grace in such tender ways as a sunrise or sunset or the birth of a child. 

If only those around me understood . . . .

If only they saw what was there offered up before them right now, in this moment, in this place, on I-85 North into Charlotte. 

I prayed for their hearts to break open to the beauty and in that breaking open for the light to penetrate and change them. That those who felt loneliness would feel love. For those who felt fear, would feel hope. That those who were uneasy would feel peace. I prayed this for everyone I pray for daily, I prayed this for those in traffic around me, I prayed this for my family, I prayed this for my community, my country and for the world. 

This is all a glorious gift. Our quotidian routines and schedules and tasks and responsibilities too often reverberates louder than the soft reminders of God in nature. We, who are caught in the dreams of man, lose out on the very dreams of God that are there to announce to our spirits: I offer you peace. I offer you rest. I offer you refuge and safety. I offer you acceptance and forgiveness and mercy. I offer you beauty. The beauty around you and before you is but a tiny glimpse  - a foretaste of the feast to come. 

Most of my commute was in complete awe and silence.  

When I finally did turn my iPod on, the song that began to play was Sandra McCracken's "Come Light Our Hearts." The lyrics of this hymn-like song resonated with this morning perfectly. It, too, was a gift from God.

For you, O Lord our souls in stillness wait
For you, O Lord our souls in stillness wait
Truly our hope is in you
Truly our hope is in you

O Lord of life, our only hope
Your radiance shines
On all who look to You in the dark
Emmanuel, come light our hearts

Oh joy above, all other loves
In You we find, more than enough
We come as we are, O heal and restore,
Come light our hearts.

I sang along. This song was a prayer for those I was praying for. And when the song had ended, I simply turned off the music again and said, "Amen."

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