Friday, May 26, 2017

Light in the Darkness

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

God stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. - Job 9:8-9 (NIV)

Worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water. - Revelation 14:7

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 69:1-12; Proverbs 18; 2 Corinthians 1:23-2:13

Many of us find spiritual inspiration in nature. This week, a colleague wrote about seeing Lake Michigan on a calm day, and marveling at the sense of peacefulness and magnificence it brought him. At the same time, he knows that the lake can also be dangerous under different weather conditions. The combination of vastness, beauty, serenity, and power remind us of God.

For me and Sheryl, one part of nature that never fails to inspire us is the sighting of "God rays" (scientifically known as "crepuscular rays") where the sun's light comes down from sky to earth through the clouds. It reminds me that just as the sun is always there, though sometimes hidden by clouds or by the rotation of the earth itself, God is always present. And just as it sometimes takes a painful situation for us to remember God's goodness, we can only see "God rays" when clouds or other obstructions are partially blocking the sun.

I think this is the way our spiritual lives work. We learn and grow from experiences that we at first feel as conflict or frustration or confusion. We know the joy of victory only because we're familiar with the power of pain. From a Christian perspective, the resurrection of Jesus would have no meaning for us if not for the reality of death.

In times of trouble, then, we can take comfort when we see even small signs of God's presence, and the ability of God to bring beauty, meaning, grace, and new life from bad situations. Both of today's verses were written as a way to remind suffering people that in the end, God prevails. May we have the same assurance in our lives, today and every day. May the presence and promises of God bring us light in all darkness.

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