Sighting a whale arching up out of the water just to splash back down. Peering a mile down from the rim of the Grand Canyon to its floor. Attending a baby’s birth. Hushing in the stalactite cathedral stillness of a grotto. Craning to look up above the cloud layer to discover still-higher-standing mountain peaks. Lawn-hosting a momma deer and her twin fawns. Noticing a tiny weed persistently pushing its way toward sunlight through the merest crack in an asphalted parking lot. Feeling the water’s mighty thundering roar under Niagara Falls. Gaping, awestruck, at the multi-faceted splendors of Yosemite National Park. Viewing galactic night sky infinity. Rapturing at the sensory overload of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto.
These are but a few examples of evocative, unforgettable, breathtaking, wonders beyond all describing. And we’ve all had these, or parallel, experiences, some wildly anticipated, some so serendipitous as to beggar the imagination. My question is this: Why do these things, and things like them, have such magnetic draw, such transformative power, such riveting energy, such capacity for lodging permanently not only in our memories, but our hearts, our emotions, perhaps even our souls? I believe it is because these are infinitesimal glimpses, each the briefest pulling back of a curtain, wisps of all eternity itself, heartbreaking reminders of what was once ‘ours,’ what was once normal, what was once our lived birthright. They all call out lovingly, longingly, invitingly, to come away, to come back to the Father’s house, back to full belonging, back to perfect peace, back to luxurious rest. And each of these ethereal snapshots awakens, then increases in us, an aching, that purest of desires to be made one, to be made whole – once more. The ancient psalmists, too, knew this sweetest of pains:
“God of Heaven’s Armies, you find so much beauty in your people!
They’re like lovely sanctuaries of your presence.
Deep within me are these lovesick longings,
Desires and daydreams of living in union with you.
When I’m near you my heart and my soul
Will sing and worship with my joyful songs of you,
My true source and spring of life!”
Psalm 84:1,2 TPT
I wonder what form His call will take, today? Lord, may we live as those eagerly waiting. PD