"Let's not do today" was my first involuntary thought as the alarm clock made its callous announcement. There are days you hate before they even happen. Today promised only slog, and the need to deal with complex problems was a certainty. It was a day that would require concentration at high levels, and a strong effort to root out the cancer of worry. As I drove to work I began praying (...After the school zone, because safety first) and asked God for the grace to handle the situations of the day, whether they improved or degraded,
"God, come for me today. Strengthen me for another day that feels like battle."
The sunrise above is what I saw as I cleared a hill, about to accelerate to the highway speed that would be my day. It was arresting...the work of an artist who appeared unsatisfied with perfection. As I watched, that perfection kept being reshaped, recolored, reframed. I pulled over on the frontage road to stop and soak in the presence and power of the artist, receiving this canvas as a message...for me...for today. And somehow, in the soft inner places, I was being reframed just like the sky that was hemming me in.
Now...I know...people will claim that a shooting star or a coveted item that's now gone on sale, is a sign from God. This kind of thinking, all too often, is pure silliness. However, I believe a bigger folly is doubting the trueness of the character and quality of God. We will surely be held accountable for thinking him too small. Or too busy. Too selfish. Too limited. Too impersonal (see Matthew 25:24). Was this not Adam's sin?
But this morning God was speaking to me through the pink hues, the soft blues, and slowly brightening sky. He told me I was not alone, and further, never would be. After actually disciplining myself to stop the car, get out and acknowledge, out loud, his mastery over my world and my day, my strength was bolstered. Over the years and in life's haste I may have missed a thousand of these sunsets. But not today. Today I heard him loud and clear.
I am generous.
I am lavish.
I am in control.
I've got your back today.
Standing outside my car with phone camera in hand to take this crummy picture, I felt "improved" for the moment. Remarkably equipped for the whole difficult day. I'm not saying my day was easy. I simply knew I was not alone.
I grew up a Catholic thinking like much of the world does that God is largely inaccessible and hard of hearing. But my personal experience suggests the opposite. It is He who is pursuing us to find us largely inaccessible and hard of hearing. I am faithful to seek God when there's a lot of drama. During the scourge and in the hour of darkness, I have often begged for both revelation and relief...and gotten them, though less often than I had hoped. But God is asking for far more frequent interaction than I am able to give him when I limit it to coincide with seasons of palpable fear, vacations, or the upcoming men's retreat. God gives himself freely, every day, and in every moment. In my weariness, in each dream, and through every story that touches my heart, I am groaning for him.
"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."
-Paul to the Romans, Ch.8
Give me eyes to see your many forms and comprehend your many languages. I permit you to awaken me from my slumber. Be patient as you illuminate the path of life to me. I want you.
You are life, and I groan for you.