...that line can sound so cliche, can't it? Awesome. It's still a great word. My little dictionary that sits here by the computer says awe is a mixed emotion of reverence, dread and wonder. I would say fear instead of dread, but basically awe is the right word.
Today I read the first chapter (well, the first half of the first chapter) in John Piper's Desiring God.
I'll be honest. I just don't care for Christian books. I absolutely love my Bible. I read it regularly, study it in depth, teach from it, underline freely, write notes in the margins and just plain delight in it. But Christian books on theology...uh, I think I need to go clean out my refrigerator. I won't go into any reasons for my aversions here because I don't want to follow that rabbit trail right now.
I stumbled across this title while reading over at Dewey's Treehouse and saw that this book was available online. My girls have ordered some of Piper's books and I knew he was a popular author so I thought I'd check it out. I printed the first chapter and settled down with my cup of coffee before I woke the kids up. I read this excerpt and felt like it did a good job of summing up something I feel like God has been trying to show me this year. Not that I have been through any major trauma this year, but if it can apply to bigger situations, why not smaller ones?
"When God looks at a painful or wicked event through his narrow lens, he sees the tragedy or the sin for what it is in itself and he is angered and grieved....
But when God looks at a painful or wicked event through his wide angle lens, he sees the tragedy or the sin in relation to everything leading up to it and everything flowing out from it. He sees it in all the connections and effects that form a pattern or mosaic stretching into eternity. This mosaic in all its parts-good and evil-brings him delight."
So often, all we see things through is the narrow lens. We rightly feel grief and anger. But that is so often where we stop. We don't move on from there. Oh, maybe we decide to take the big step and "forgive" because we know it's wrong to harbor anger and bitterness in our hearts. Scripture is painfully clear about that. So we say, "I forgive you" but it doesn't always prevent us from only seeing through the narrow lens.
Much of my prayers this year have been, "Lord, help me to see through Your eyes" or "Help me to love so-and-so like you do". Over and over again I have prayed for His viewpoint. Talk about God not giving us a stone when we ask for bread! I feel like I have received freshly ground, whole wheat, delicious, nutritious, satisfying bread this year. Sometimes the results of these prayers have been almost instantly miraculous and other times more gradual, but after looking back a bit, effective nonetheless.
I have seen one thing for sure. Love and grace triumph over punishment and self-righteous judgment. Occasionally, I see a glimpse of His Glory and even just that glimpse, that tip of the iceberg, feels so overwhelming it makes me wonder how I will be able to bear more.