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Saturday, March 1, 2014

The BIG Eye in the Sky

Did you ever stop to think about angels stopping to take notice of each and every word of praise and thanks you utter into the heavenlies?  Well, scripture bears witness to the fact they do (Psalm 138:1).  I never really thought about it before - the fact others are listening to my praise.  When I do, it makes me a little self-conscious at first, but then I realize they are just stopping to listen because these words of praise and thanksgiving are just a sweet, sweet melody in the ears of those who occupy heavenly realms - God includes his angels in that company!  The most "telling" part of praise and thanksgiving is being able to really "tell" God what it is you are grateful for - specifically and purposefully.  In the case of our psalmist, his purpose for his words of praise are quite specific:  The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.  (vs. 3)  He had laid his heart bare before God, seeking his intervention, and without haste, God stepped in.  In that moment of God taking over the controls of his life circumstances, David steps back and sees the greatness of God on his behalf.  Some of the most revealing moments come when we just step back.  To frame a picture right for a photo opportunity, I often practice this process of "stepping back" just so I can see how all "outside" of my focus in the camera lens looks in comparison to the small picture I see.  When I do, I often see a large expanse of other beauty which only magnifies the intensity of the shot I had been able to capture. There are times when I "reframe" my shot based on this having "stepped back" because it showed me a different perspective - one which I would have missed had I not stepped back a little.  In stepping back, we open ourselves to see the fullness of his majesty - something which only evokes greater and greater depth of praise, thanksgiving, and worship!

When they hear what you have to say, God, all earth’s kings will say “Thank you.”  They’ll sing of what you’ve done:  “How great the glory of God!”  And here’s why: God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.  When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil.  With one hand strike my foes, with your other hand save me.  Finish what you started in me, God.  Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.  (Psalm 138:4-8  MSG)  

We don't "get" how God who dwells high above can keep everything here on this earth in his "perspective", so not even one frame is missed.  It is a concept our finite brains have a hard time getting hold of - we are limited by what we know, he is limited by nothing!  I find it both a little comforting and a little disconcerting to realize God sees EVERYTHING - and KNOWS everything about us.  Comforting because I know he is watchful and I am never outside of his care.  Disconcerting because there are times I would rather he not observe my responses, selfish actions, or misdeeds as they occur.  Somehow, I know he already knows those things, but knowing they don't escape his view has the ability to affect my "composure" in those moments!  It is one thing to look all calm, cool and collected in the midst of one of your moments of misstep, but quite disturbing to your self-composure when you realize the misstep didn't escape his notice!

The reality is God's care for the condition of my spirit extends way beyond my seeming need for maintaining composure!  I am so gratified by this revelation. Nothing I do escapes his recognition - nothing I need escapes his provision - nothing I desire escapes his notice - nothing I regret escapes his grace. Period!  In knowing everything about us, he also knows every step into his grace which is also so very necessary for our lives.  Our salvation is in an instant - our movement into his fullness is filled with steps of grace - each leading us a little closer to the realization of his fullness within.  Yep, we are given all we need for this fullness at the moment of our salvation, but it takes us a while to deal with our need for composure and our willingness to step into his grace where it is most needed in our lives.

God's constant notice of our lives is also a means by which he continues to reveal his love to us, within us, and through us.  He notices our sin because he has a provision of grace already prepared.  He notices our thankfulness at his provision because he knows how dramatically this moment of gracious acknowledgement of his intervention in our lives will bring the intimate connection between each of us and his tenderly beating heart.  God doesn't "notice" all that goes on just because he can - he notices with a purpose - to intervene with grace where no amount of effort on our own could ever produce anything of value or lasting worth.  Grace is just that way - it intervenes, permeates, and then begins to reveal the intense value/worth of that which it affects.  Since grace is directed toward us, that means we are the objects of great value he continues to lend value upon value, until we begin to see the extreme worth of creation within.  It is a worth we can know by no other means - for it is only found in realizing we are the object of his attention and his affection.  Just sayin!