I’m in Sedona, AZ. I came up here to be alone for a few days… had an awesome week of junior high camp at UCYC but at the end my prayer was “God, I need someone to pour into me…” Last night I spent the night at my friend Dennis’ trailer in Mormon Lake. We grilled steak, rode quads at night, sat in front of a fire for several hours listening to coyotes howl in the distance, and read some Bible. Its amazing how quiet it is up there! Living in the city, I rarely get to experience that anymore. Summer is always an awesome time for me to get away and reflect and remember who God is and who He has called and created me to be.
Today I went to the grocery store to pick up some food for my hotel room: got two microwave dinners and a lean cousine. My hotel has a microwave and a refrigerator. After dropping all the stuff off at my hotel room, I walked across the street to this tea place. The girl recommended this Japanese green tea, so I bought one and sat on the deck overlooking the awesome red rocks of Sedona:
I found myself asking God to speak to me… to lead me… and sat there listening. I began thinking about how much in life is a matter of perspective. Sometimes you and I only see what’s immediate… our momentary troubles, our situation … and I wonder if many times God looks into our hearts and says “if only you could see it from my perspective.”
So then I asked aloud: “God, when you look at my life, what do you see?”
I opened my Bible up and read Psalm 84. The verse that hit me was verse 5: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before the God of Zion.”
Then I remembered… God sees my life as a pilgrimage. This world and the things in it aren’t enough to satisfy my longings. “blessed are those who have set their hearts on pilgrimage” to me meant that God’s desire is that I continue journeying towards him, to one day meet him face to face. That’s his perspective! This life is not about the relationships, the problems, the successes, or the pleasures, but rather its about journeying towards God.
I found myself somewhat frustrated at this thought: “why then, did you make the world good? Why did you make the Red Rocks of Sedona so that all these new age hippies worship them? Why did you create human beings to long for the arms of other human beings, or romantic love, or the desire for intimacy? Couldn’t you have just made the world grey and bland so that people couldn’t help but to long for you and pursue you?”
I know how crazy that sounds: but that’s my thought process. Then the answer came to me like lightning…
“I made the world good, but not that good. I made the things of this world just good enough to whet people’s appetite for Me. I made romantic love just good enough to point people towards Me, because only I can bring true intimacy. I made the Red Rocks so that people will look at them in wonder and awe and ponder the mystery of My creation…that they would be rumors of another world, of a place where beauty, majesty, intimacy, love, justice and truth are no longer shrouded by the finitude of this life.”
Here then, was God’s answer: “they go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” There are times where I feel strong… where life is going well and I feel secure, but those times won’t last forever in this life. Strength will rise and fall, and my life is short. But I am a pilgrim, on my way towards the God of Zion!
If I can keep that perspective: that I am ever, always journeying towards God, despite the “from strength to strength” of life, I know that my ultimate strength comes from God who walks with me along the way, who watches over me as a shepherd, who prepares feasts before me in the presence of my enemies, who “will withhold no good thing from those whose walk is blameless,” and who knows me more than anyone else.
Better is one day in his courts than a thousand elsewhere…