Remembering and Rejoicing

Most of us on the tour bus were oblivious to the date on the calendar, though most knew it was Tuesday.  Placed together as part of a no-rest-for-the-weary visit to Israel almost a week before, we had become comfortably familiar with one another by this time.  On this particular morning, the bus left Jerusalem fairly early so we could explore many sights to the north before ending the day with the sun setting over the Mediterranean Sea at Caesarea while we worshipped the Lord with Joseph Prince and the musicians from Singapore.

The narration wasn’t as constant this morning as it usually was, leaving us to quiet conversation or contemplation.  Most of us knew today to be the last day of the official tour, and bittersweet emotions were just below the surface of most thoughts.  It had all come and gone so quickly.  Tomorrow, our group would be broken up and combined with others who were taking a side trip before flying out from Tel Aviv late in the evening.

Israel 2012 622Someone must have remembered what day it was.  They also knew Alex, one of our own, had a story to tell about this day, and urged him forward to share with the whole group.  It turns out this day was Tuesday, September 11.  Alex wasn’t just another tour member who had vivid memories of life before, during, and after that day, like the rest of us.  Alex was from New York . . . City, and he worked for Cantor Fitzgerald in 2001, in the World Trade Center.  His memories were up close and personal, and we really did need to hear them.

Though Alex told his story with obvious emotion, he did so without tears.  That was for the rest of us on the bus.  In the midst of the telling and the tears, however, we were greatly encouraged.  You see, though he couldn’t see it so clearly at the time, Alex now sees God’s grace in evidence in even the smallest of details of his life at that time, and he is full of joy and peace of Jesus.

He told of close friends and co-workers who died that day, in the very offices where he worked.  And he told, in specific details I can’t quite remember a year later, of a training course he was to have taken at another time – one that was either postponed or conflicted with his planned vacation.   But there was a last-minute opening in a different class that had him away from the office on that Tuesday morning.  Not only that, but it was out of the city, as well.   As if that weren’t enough, the name of the building where these classes was held was more evidence of God’s intervention – something like The Grace Building.

That day, Alex became the face of victory in Christ and His grace, not just in the sweet by and by, but in the sometimes not so sweet here and now.  Hearing his story of life through tragedy, and seeing the peace of Christ profoundly displayed even in the retelling, helped bring a present-day reminder that Jesus is alive and victorious.  He wasn’t just the Jesus of 2000 years ago in whose history we had been immersed all week.  He is Jesus Christ – the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Remembering today . . . and rejoicing!

God’s Still Dancing

God Danced the Day You Were Born has been around on artwork and greeting cards for many years.  I always liked it, but never gave more than a passing thought to the sentiment . . . until the other day.

It was the last opportunity I would have to pray with my son and daughter-in-law (without their toddler around to distract) before they headed to the hospital to deliver their second son – my second grandson.  I didn’t know in advance what I’d pray, since the typical things had already been covered in personal prayer.  I knew Holy Spirit was behind it, so I looked forward to what He’d communicate at this special time.  As always, it was perfect!

Rather than leading us to pray about the physical circumstances of this birth, the Lord revealed His heart in a deeper way.  As I began to pray with excitement about this precious baby we were about to meet, I could sense His eager anticipation, too.  As excited as we were at the prospect of seeing this new life, the One Who created Him was even more excited!  The Creator had knit Emmett together in his mother’s womb and already knew everything about him; yet, He was still excited about this baby’s world debut!

You know, it was the same when each of us was born.  God danced with excitement the day we made our entrance and the world got its first glimpse of yet another of His created ones.  He had, after all, declared the day of creation very good when He created each of us in the spirit realm, long before we were formed in the womb. (Genesis 1:31) 

Then we grew up, living so far from His perfection.  But God!  Because of His love for us, and His gift of Jesus Christ, He sees us as perfect, completely righteous.  We are in Christ.  He’s not disappointed with Christ, so He’s not disappointed with us.  Really.  And He’s still dancing!

Which Hair is That?

I shed a lot of hair.  Always have.  With long hair, it’s more obvious because those loose hairs seem to go on forever – everywhere.  In the process of removing a large amount of no-longer-attached hair from my hands during the wash process, I had a seemingly random thought.  Jesus said the very hairs of our head are numbered. 1  When God sees the glob of hair from today’s shower, does He see just a random 50+ hairs from Kay’s lifetime supply?  Or does He know, specifically, which hairs they are, when they grew in, what color, their length, etc.?  I truly believe it’s the latter.  After all, He calls each star by name!2  And both of these “random” thoughts cause me to praise my awesome Abba even more!

You see, I watched a short video recently that expanded my grasp of the enormity of this One I call Daddy – this One Who formed the heavens that go on and on and on.  In the midst of that revelation, I realized my utter smallness in this thing called creation.  Very humbling, to say the least.  At the same time, I explode inside with the reality that this same I AM loves me, individually, and has chosen me in Christ to be in intimate relationship with Him!  Wonderful, glorious Lord!

Please watch this three minute video, The Awe Factor of God, to see how it affects you.  You might even find yourself thinking about how concerned our indescribable Creator is with each hair on your head!

1 Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7
2 Psalm 147:4