Friday, November 8, 2013

Great is the Lord, and Greatly to be Praised!

The other day I was sitting in the front passenger seat of our van as my mom and I drove out to the county, about an hour's distance from our house.  During the long stretch of road between our home and our destination, the country was coloured with autumn trees, and the world seemed to have that stillness about it that comes with a light morning rain.

I held a cup of tea in my hands as I observed it all, and took a moment to thank God for the beauty that He gives us in creation.  And then, my mind began to wander.

I have been considering learning to speak another language, since I will be going to school in Germany next year.  I don't need German for my studies, but for the sake of travel, and being able to properly express my gratitude for the kindness of the people hosting me, I want to be able to say a few things at least.  I reflected on the differences in language; my mom speaks German, and often, when she and her siblings will talk to each other, then we (their kids) ask for a translation… but sometimes there is nothing in English to translate the German word.  Language is a curious thing.  We have words to express what we see, feel, taste, and touch.  And in some languages, we have words that express certain feelings or emotions that another language might not have words for.  So sometimes, for lack of words to express ourselves, our emotions remain silent… or else are tediously described with whatever words we can find to best bring it to the understanding of our listener.

Then, I looked out the window again.  And I remembered the thousands of English words I have read in my favourites stories, like Anne of Green Gables, where pages and pages describe scenes like the one I was seeing outside my window.  Word after word painted in my imagination pictures of what the author wanted to convey… A depth of beauty in nature and emotion.  Likewise many writers have done; for example, rather than just describing "A field with a tree in it," an author might choose to convey it in a more descriptive way, like "A golden field of wheat, just before harvest, with a large oak in red and auburn standing strong in a persistent breeze."

It occurred to me, as I observed the nature outside, that I could use several hundred words to describe this quiet scene before me, and still I would not exhaust the depth of detail and beauty that was represented by this place.  

Language is curious.  And nature is complex.

Then I thought, "How much more complex would it be to describe a person!"  A human being, described in words, is an inexhaustible subject for description.  Along with the unique appearance of every person, and the different ways that they look from everyone else, a human being is created with personality, DNA, a unique operating system of body, soul, and spirit intelligently designed by Creator God.  To attempt description, perhaps, is to reduce.  I am reminded of the psalmist as he said, 

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." - Psalm 139:13-15

Here is a man who understood a bit of the depth in creativity and magnificent design represented in his being.  It is not a statement of pride - But one of absolute humility, as far as I can see, as a man considers what is too deep and too great to describe in words: the finished work of a master designer.    
People are living, breathing artwork, designed completely uniquely from each other, in the image of the Master, the Lord our God.  Wow.  We are complex in a way that cannot be put into words in any sort of complete way.    

Further still, my mind continued to explore this thought.  "If we cannot fully describe beauty in nature, let alone ourselves, how much greater and more complex is the One who made it all!"  At this point, my mind began to get beyond its own capacity.  He who made all, sees all, knows all, is above, in and through all things… Wow.  Every detail that we could ever know and attempt to describe, He made.  He knows it, inside and out.  Every detail that fails to meet the human eye, yet continues to be and operate in the way He created it… He knows.  Every thing that we have yet to discover, whether it be too large or too small to have been noticed by us… He knows it. He made it.  And He fully, without need of words or description, comprehends it.

And yet… This God, this great and mighty God, this creative, beautiful God… Speaks to us.  In words.  He gives us his Word, the Bible, to teach us in our own language that which we cannot understand without his infinite knowledge, and he sends his Spirit to communicate to our hearts that which mere words could never begin to communicate to our minds.  

I don't know about you, but this train of thought makes me want to read.  There is only one Voice that can communicate true understanding of life, its source, and all of its cautions and wisdom.  There is only One who knows it all.  And he gives it to me in the only way I know how to communicate - In words. In the Bible.  

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable."  Psalm 145:2-4 (KJV)

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Woman's Answer to a Man's Question

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the hand above--
A woman's heart, and a woman's life
And a woman's wonderful love?

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy,
Demanding what others have died to win,
With the reckless dash of a boy?

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Man-like you have questioned me;
Now stand at the bar of my woman's soul
Until I shall question thee.

You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart to be true as God's stars,
And as pure as heaven your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef;
I require a far better thing.
A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts;
I look for a man and a king.

A king for the beautiful realm called home,
And a man that the maker, God,
Shall look upon as he did the first
And say, "It is very good."

I am fair and young, but the rose will fade
From my soft, young cheek one day,
Will you love me then 'mid the falling leaves,
As you did 'mid the bloom of May?

Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give all this, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.

If you cannot do this -- a laundress and cook
You can hire, with little to pay,
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way.

 - Lena Lathrop

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


1 Timothy 6:5-7
"Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."

May I learn to be content, today.  Thankful, today.  Present in the present.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that's why it's called 'Present.'"

Reflecting on Faith

Trying to recognize that it is not my ability to believe that makes it great, nor my belief by measure that makes it count. But rather, believing that God is strong, and He is able. Faith is not a reflection of my strength, but an understanding of His.