"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Where God Hangs Out

I’ve said for years that God hangs out at the beach. Why? Because every time I go, I seem to encounter Him in a fresh way. Of course, when I was in the mountains this past November, He seemed to meet me there, too. And today I discovered a new place. In fact, I think He showed up first.

My husband had a business-of-sorts meeting today to the botanical resort of Callaway Gardens and asked if I wanted to go along for the ride. The drive over would be nice and I figured I could find a spot to sit and read and enjoy nature. So I agreed, packed me a bag of books, some bottled water, not to mention a bag of fresh cherries and a square of chocolate, and my trusty folding chair. Oh, and I prayed. I asked God for His favor – and a place to park (not the car; me) for those 4 hours of waiting while my husband’s meeting was going on.

Upon arriving, I inspected the area and thought maybe I ought to stay at The Discovery Center instead of venturing too far and risk getting lost. So I retuned to the truck and retrieved my “gear” and headed to the back of the Center where there was not only a beautiful lake setting, but a deck and a restaurant. (Note: I still ate my cherries and chocolate – but opted for tea instead of bottled water.)

Checking my options for repose, my eyes fell upon an empty table with only one chair pulled up to it. I thought, “That’s it.” And so I settled in for the next 4 hours.

This was my view.

Though there were a number of tables in the area, only 3 were in this particular location and on this specific deck. At the middle table was a family of 7. Two adults and their 5 children ranging from about 10-20 years in age. They had brought their coolers and were having lunch when the dad pulled out a “storybook” Bible and said he was going to read the account of Creation. And so, instead of pulling out my own reading material, I settled in for story time.

What a treat! Here I was sitting outside on a lake on this beautiful Spring morning, ducks literally waddling around my feet, fish and turtle swimming below me, and bubble bees flying all about me, and I get to hear the Creation story read out loud to me! Now just tell me: is God not the coolest?
I'm sorry I don't have a picture of the bumble bee. I just wasn't thinking.

And that was just the beginning. As I sat there those many hours, people came and went, and I took note of every last one of them. (What can I say? I’m a people watcher.) And without exception, every family, or friends, or group that sat down at those tables, said a blessing before their meal. Without exception, I said! In a day when all we hear is the decline of faith and the family, it was the most refreshing thing to watch. Sometimes it was the grandfather who said grace. Another time, it was the wife. One time, a young woman just lowered her head for a moment in silent prayer. A husband who removed his beret-like cap before bowing his head and praying with his wife. But my personal favorite: a child singing, “God our Father, God our Father, we give thanks. We give thanks…” My heart just about burst.

And that was a good thing, because of late, my heart has felt empty, and I have undergone a sense of worthlessness; even uselessness in ministry. But today I got a taste of a bigger picture; something larger than myself. A worship scene in heaven even.

What is it about a change in scenery that tends to give us a change in perspective? Does where we are geographically truly affect where we are spiritually? Could it be that new places open us up to new experiences. That they get us out of our routine and help us see God with new eyes. Maybe that’s why I always seem to run into God at the beach or at the mountains. Because geography really does affect spirituality.

Interestingly, I only got to a small portion of the material I took to read today. But it was a fitting fraction. It was eight timely articles on … worship.

Today was made to spawn such as that. After all, God hangs out at botanical gardens.

This is Bess. She hung pretty tight with me the entire time. She was usually under my chair.

I think it's because Bert was making a play for her.


Thena said...

Such a peaceful setting. We've talked about going to Callaway Gardens but never have. Have always heard wonderful things about it.

Anonymous said...

Your "ordinary moments" are beautiful thought inspired by God and His word. I strongly encourage you to put them in written form, so that more people are able to share with you and benefit from your thoughts.