Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Faithfulness of God

"I remember my first visit to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. Rings of Japanese and German tourists surrounded the geyser, their video cameras trained like weapons on the famous hole in the ground. A large digital clock stood beside the spot, predicting twenty-four minutes before the next eruption.

My wife and I passed the countdown in the dining room of Old Faithful Inn overlooking the geyser. When the digital clock reached one minute, we, along with every other diner, left our seats and rushed to the windows to see the big, wet event.

I noticed immediately, as if on signal, a crew of busboys and waiters descended on the tables to refill water glasses and clear away dirty dishes. When the geyser went off, we tourists oohed and aahed and clicked our cameras; a few spontaneously applauded. But, glancing back over my shoulder, I saw that not even a single waiter or busboy--not even those who had finished their chores--looked out the huge windows. Old Faithful, grown entirely too familiar, had lost its power to impress them."

Philip Yancey, as quoted by Mark Buchanan in "The Holy Wild"

This summer, I have been reading "The Holy Wild" by Pastor Mark Buchanan. He really has made me stop and think about just how faithful God is to us, every single day.. and, ashamedly, how little we appreciate the things He does for us, each and every day of our lives.

Especially in our modern-day iCulture...we want what we want and we want it yesterday. Sometimes we get so caught up in putting out our day-to-day fires, we stare right past acres of God's blessings that are right in front of our nose, never pausing once to thank Him..for any of them.

The example Mark Buchanan uses, that brought this point home starkly for me was when he asked the reader to consider how often we thank God for a leaf.. for leaves. I don't remember when I last even thought about leaves. As he states, "God makes leaves season after season, one after the other, billions upon billions, from the Garden to the New Jerusalem, most for no eye but His own. He does it faithfully, or else I would not live to tell about it, or you to hear. Leaves to spill out life-giving oxygen, to shade the earth, to feed you and me."

Because of His faithfulness, we get used to these kind of blessings.. we grow bored with faithfulness. Who reading this leapt out of bed this morning and ran to the window, exclaiming with excitement at the fact that the sun rose this morning? Or exclaimed in amazement that your lungs drew in a breath of fresh air? If I'm stepping on any toes, know that I am primarily stepping on my own!

Very rarely do I stop and thank God for any of these things. I just kind of take them for granted. Unfortunately, the thing that DOES tend to make us stop and thank God for these most precious of blessings...is when we come very close to losing them.

A good friend of mine, mid-40s, had a massive stroke back in May. He was very near death, as we all prayed to God to please spare his life. Even as he turned that corner and stabilized, the doctors cautioned his family that he might never fully recover.. he could possibly be on a ventilator the rest of his life. Breathing...suddenly it didn't seem so automatic. None of his friends and family were taking it for granted anymore. Thanks be to God, my friend is now recovering and even breathing on his own again. Friends and family exhale...and then we move on...hopefully never forgetting this reminder.

Once more, Mark Buchanan sums this up so eloquently, "When the seas roar and the mountains give way.. we despair, or we take hold of God. There are three things that God promises with a guarantee: He is faithful to forgive our sins if we confess them, He is faithful to make us holy and blameless through Christ's sacrifice...and He is faithful to get us home."

And even when no one's noticing, He's still faithful...making leaves...one by one.

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