For the past ten weeks, I have been listening to a song by Elevation Worship—pretty much non-stop. The words in “Hear Again” have been the cry of my heart, as I watch one mess and one heartbreak after another engulf our world, our cities, my church. (It is from that song, that I have taken these subtitles from.)
In the Middle
These days, it has been easy to find myself thinking about the past. Those glorious, beautiful days when everything was as it used to be. I miss Myanmar something desperately. I miss a pre-COVID-19 and pre-2020 election world in many ways. And many times, I confess, I miss the idyllic space I lived in in my mind.
But I can’t go back to anything past this very moment I’m in right now. And I know that scripture has words about “forgetting the past and what lies behind” (Philippians 3:13) and not dwelling in disillusionment with how wonderful Egypt was—when it wasn’t.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). But our circumstances, relationships, and worlds are not. Nor are we. We are creatures of change and being changed. God is above the constraints of time and yet he chooses to dwell in time with us. His grace has led us this far and his grace will meet us in new mercies tomorrow—but as people of time, it is today that we need to know that he is with us. And he is good on his promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8; Hebrews 13:5). He is with us.
I’m Not Enough Unless You Come
As I sing along with Elevation Worship, I get to this line, “I’m not enough unless you come,” and what floods my mind are all the stories of Jesus showing up and being the Enough for every, single one of them:
- The boy with the lunch that Jesus feeds thousands with.
- Raising the widow’s son from the funeral bier and so many other death-to-life miracles.
- The water that became the richest of wine.
- Stilling seas and stilling hearts.
- Healings that didn’t end.
- Opening the scriptures and opening eyes.
- Ending the sacrificial system by being poured out for the sins of the world.
- And so many others that the world itself couldn’t hold all the stories (John 21:25).
We do not lack. In Jesus, we have everything. Without him, we are not enough, but with him, everything about the story changes. And what are these stories to do for us? Move us to see glory and beauty and worship Jesus.
The Lord is in this Place
And when I get to the bridge, I can’t help but belt it out, “The Lord is in this place!” And remember that story so very long ago when Jacob woke up from his dream about angels and said, “Truly, the Lord is in this place and I didn’t even know it” (Genesis 28:16).
But, friends, we do know that the Lord is in this place. And every place that we go and are in. The psalmist declared that there was nowhere he could go that God wasn’t also there (Psalm 139). There was Another in the fire and that same One is with us in every one of our fires and deep waters. We are not drowned, not burned, not consumed (Isaiah 43:2–3).
When the Word became flesh, God made his dwelling with humanity, and the Lord was in that place (John 1:14). And the Lord is still in this place, as Jesus gave us the gift of the Spirit to dwell within us until the day when we dwell with him forever.
…And Something Else
I want to close this blog in a way that I have never ended a post, by giving you three things to help you see beauty, as a means to seeing Jesus.
Read this article by Joe Deegan: “Stories Shape Us: Find the Good Ones.” I was helped immensely by reading this one this morning…and it carried through the day, as I looked for the good stories to be the ones that shaped my day and disposition to the things in my day. (It also framed this post as I was writing it, as I was deeply reminded of all these stories of Jesus.)
Listen to this brand-new song by Hillsong United and let it remind you that no matter how bleak the world looks, God will make a way. He is good on his promises.
Look deeply at the beauty around you. Last night, I walked around the church parking lot and simply took in all that is there but I rarely see. Wildflowers in yellows, whites, magentas, and purples. Honey bees. A rabbit. And the smells…oh the smells!