'Human beings carry the unique ability to not merely please God through their existence, but to do so through conscious joy in their Creator.'
~Sweeney and Strachan
Along my one hour bus route to college, almost half of the time is pure highway with hardly any buildings, bridges, or people--fairly rare for Singapore. Instead, I get treated to a gloriously long vista of trees; rain trees, gentle giants whose lacy canopies are so high above that their wispy beauty often goes unnoticed...plump bushy trees like marshmallows , their green sides frosted with feathery orange...slim sad-looking trees...young bare-branched ones with a few brave leaves...choruses of vibrant, happy red leaves gleaming in the sun...
I am so thankful for the trees along my prayer route. They make it so easy to see God. They make His goodness so simple to understand, and so real to feel. Looking at them, absorbing their beauty, loosens my mind and heart from all the busyness and distractions that have tied them into hard knots of efficiency, and my heart naturally turns to God--not, for once, because I need His help, but simply because He is the source of all this beauty.
As Steve DeWitt said: Beauty is God's invitation to delight in Him.
And in that lovely restful frame of mind I slip into prayer as easily as falling asleep (which is an apt analogy since it's on a bus)--specifically, the first stage of prayer, Adoration; it takes on a new meaning after your soul has been steeped in vivid awareness of the goodness of God.
I wish I could reflect God's glory as purely and consistently as the trees do, I thought once.
I may have more potential to do so in a greater scale, but I am a lot more likely NOT to actually maximize that potential.
This lovely quote, however, was a comforting and uplifting reminder to counter-balance that otherwise possibly depressing thought (I say possibly because I couldn't actually feel depressed in the face of all those glorious trees; just humbled in a wholesome, good sort of way.) It was from the short book Jonathan Edwards: Lover of God by Sweeney and Strachan. (I started reading this book mainly for an overview of Edwards' life, work, and impact; but along the way I discovered it had little gems of its own tucked away obscurely, in the middle of a prosaic paragraph of factual autobiographical narration.)
Human beings carry the unique ability to not merely please God through their existence, but to do so through conscious joy in their Creator.
Yes, the trees are pleasing God--and man--simply by being, by existing, by quivering under the load of beauty that they bear. I sense the joy God has in them when I look at them, the delight in His creation which made Him say 'It is good.'
And as for us--we flawed, weak, selfish, foolish humans--we can be this, and even more. When we consciously delight in God, we glorify Him even more than the tree in all its beauty. I don't even have to do something great and splendid before I can glorify Him. I can glorify God through something as simple and natural and desirable as being happy in Him.
To seek joy in Him--because it is joy; because I need it; because it enables me to understand Him; and because it glorifies Him.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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