Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, December 5, 2011

Perspective - how I see

"Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it!" ~ Genesis 28:11-16

: ) My congregation is becoming a bit edgy. They want to sing Christmas carols and I am doing my best to resist the pressure to please and to sit within this season of Advent.  Advent, is the time of waiting, of watching, of seeking.  In some ways it is an uncomfortable place to be, waiting....  I'm not surprised these good people want to skip over this time of waiting and jump right into the glory and excitement of Christmas.

Still, we are called to be still, to be patient, to watch....  To be like Jacob and discover that the Lord is in this place!

Sarah Young writes in Jesus Calling,
"His discovery was not only for him but for all who seek Me. Whenever you feel distant from Me, say: 'Surely the Lord is in this place!' Then, ask Me to give you awareness of My Presence. This is a prayer that I delight to answer."
In Chapter 5, Ann writes of her son's injury and her own struggles during this time.  She gives Levi two Tylenol and then goes looking for medicine of her own which is in the form of cards with Bible verses.
Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand. Isaiah 14:24 (NASB) 
A good God plans everything. EVERYTHING. So a good God can only...make plans for good? He only gives good gifts? A thing of evil cannot be created by a good God? (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 88)

Such a question to hold on a Monday morning!

It is still black as ink outside.  The light from my lamps cast shadows when it hits my chair....  Ann reflects that a shadow is an empty space, a hole in the light.
Evil is all that lacks the goodness of God, a willful choice to turn away from the full goodness of God to that empty of His goodness.
All God makes is good. Can it be that, that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish the will of God? That which seems evil only seems so because of perspective, the way the eyes see the shadows. Above the clouds, light never stops shining. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 88)

Still, what perspective sees good in a child suffering abuse, a young mother dying of cancer, a violent storm that claims lives...

The sun is just beginning to rise and faint light is coming through my blinds.  Light is pushing out the darkness that has surrounded me.  Julian of Norwich wrote:
See that I am God. See that I am in everything. See that I do everything. See that I have never stopped ordering my works, nor ever shall, eternally. See that I lead everything on to the conclusion I ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom and love with whivh I made it. How can anything be amiss?

How I see.

Ann holds similar thoughts and remembers the death of her baby sister.  She sees the tombstone in her mind's eye...
I won't shield God from my anguish by claiming He's not involved in the ache of this world and Satan prowls but he's a lion on a leash and the God who governs all can be shouted at when I bruise, and I can cry and I can howl and He embraces the David-hearts who pound hard on His heart with their grief and I can moan deep that He did this - and He did.' (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 89)

I don't know.  I struggle with Ann's thought that "God does...." Yet, to disagree takes power away from an Almighty God.

Yesterday we read Chapters 38-41 in Job.  Reading Job has been a blessing, an eye opening experience...a challenge to my perspective.

In Chapter 38 God finally responds to Job and quiets Job's friends with the direct question:

 2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
   with words without knowledge? 
If I read Job as a book that tells of human suffering, God's response is cold and harsh.  However, I have learned that reading Job as a story that tells of the limits of human understanding, changes my perspective.

In Chapter 42 Job humbly responds:

  2 “I know that you can do all things;
   no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
   Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
   things too wonderful for me to know.
Ann writes she can feel God holding her as she expresses her grief, like a flailing child tired in her Father's arms as he whispers in her ear:
Are your ways My ways, child. Can you eat My manna, sustain on My mystery? Can you believe that I tenderly, tirelessly work all for the best good of the whole world - because My flame of love for you can never, ever be quenched? 
Sometimes, Ann writes, we need time to answer the hard eucharisteo and I cannot disagree.  Some times, the darkness is to dark and I cannot see the light chasing the shadows.  Still, during this season of Advent I am encouraged to wait, to seek, to be still......

The season of Advent prepares my heart once again to be open to the truth that God loved me so much that he was willing to come and live in my midst....Emmanuel.  When I can fully embrace this truth, then the eyes of my heart are opened and I see in a new way.....  My perspective has been changed.....

May it come to pass.  AMEN.


 Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. We don't wait enough...we want things NOW!

  2. i find that I've come to love the waiting...even if other people don' enriches the season......makes me think more about what the wait is about.....hold them off....if you can...happy day.