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Observe to Hear

Are you a story-teller? If so, what type of stories do you relish telling? I like to hear stories, even enjoy reading them. I also like to observe stories - yes, you read that right - observation is a huge part of interpreting the story. We observe and then we form conclusions as a result of what we observe. For example, we see a person standing in a take-out line who is probably a little poorly dressed, maybe even with clothing overly soiled, and we tell ourselves a story that they are likely homeless. If you observe them a little while longer, you may notice they get into a fancy pick-up truck just outside in the parking lot, ladders and tools in the bed of the truck. What you observed in the take-out line didn't match the story you now are telling yourself, did it? You observed the person who was clad in dirty attire was really a workman, probably going home after an extremely hard work day. Observation is often key to understanding the stories we not only tell ourselves, but those that are told to us!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies announce what his hands have made. Day after day they tell the story; night after night they tell it again. (Psalm 19:1-2)

There is one story we will never grow weary of observing - the story of God's creative and sustaining power all around us. I delight in just sitting in the backyard when the weather is nice and listening to the birds. I observe them coming to my feeders, some more aggressive than others to obtain their fair share at the feeder. Others just simply perch on the sideline, waiting their turn, or bob along the ground just under the feeder, picking up the cast offs from those feeding above. I also observe the tiny insects crawling along the walkway, working their way through the soil in the garden, or creeping along the smooth edge of a leaf. Nothing compares to being out in the country, observing the wide open sky and taking in all the brilliance of the stars strewn across the expanse. You don't see that many stars when you live in the city, but get out away from the lights and wow! God's majesty is certainly declared in the skies!

We might not appreciate the stories we observe as much as we really need to, though. There is just something about taking time to slow down enough to 'observe' what God has created that helps us connect a little closer to him. In those moments of slowing down and really paying attention, we are able to listen to the things God desires to tell us. I enjoyed a day of fishing last week, best friend next to me. As I stood their on the shoreline of the river, I enjoyed the robin hunting insects, fish drifting in and out of view, and even the silent 'whispers' of the tree leaves above. The tall grass gently swaying in the breeze and the myriad of butterflies adorned in all manner of brilliant color both caught my eye more than one time. The story of his creation was all around me, as was the story of his constant attention to care for and provide for all he has created. We observe God working in so many ways, but we sometimes miss the story he is trying to tell us in what we observe.

It is dangerous for us to jump to conclusions when God is telling us his story, just as it was silly of us to assume the man in the take-out line was homeless. God might just be asking us to observe for a while, so we get the entirety of the story he is attempting to tell us! Just sayin!

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