Lingering in the Light

(Previously published in the May/June 2016 issue of Live Magazine

 The Town and Country station wagon my parents bought second hand was a two-toned cream and wood paneling affair and is the first car in which I can remember a family trip.   New cars--even ‘new to you’ cars--have a unique smell; like adventure and hope and upholstery.  My dad would navigate that boat of a car onto the TransCanada West while it was still dark; my brother and sister would determinedly fall back asleep, pillows cold against the windows while I watched the mountains grow larger.   As the trees grew thick and the city lights fell away behind, I watched; I wanted to catch sight of the wild things that live in the expanse between people; hopeful that a momentary flash of delight would punctuate the tedium of hours on the road.

God made us for delight.  If you go way, way back to the beginning--to the genesis of it all, if you will--you’ll find He made man and woman and placed them in a garden He planted and walked with them.  He made them to delight in Him and in one another.  He made them to delight in their surroundings and the manifold other creatures He had made.  He placed in them an awe for beauty. No other species on Earth writes poetry and yet the poets include all of creation in their verse; prompted by our delight for such splendor as the regal stripes of the tiger or the a delicate lace of a web slung with dew in the first light of morning. We alone glory in the bending of light over the horizon; find water falling from a height to the earth below a sight to be cherished.  There is no instinctual imperative to explain humanity’s appreciation for loveliness; it serves no survival purpose.  We delight because delight is His way and we were made in His image.

But delight seems hard in these days of ours where bombs explode with astonishing regularity. Where life is not a miracle but a parasitic inconvenience to be removed. Where we hurry to self-identify rather than rise to the mantle God has given us. Where people campaign for healers to be complicit in suicide. Where truth is subjugated and intemperate feelings guide morality. Where fools and tyrants are celebrated and the eyes of the people drift closed in a somnolent haze of anesthetizing narcissism.  

We almost cannot bear to look at all that there is to see. 

But beauty is always worth opening our eyes for; and we are not satisfied with a single look, either.  We long to behold beauty again and again. To immerse ourselves in it. To possess it, but we live as though it is a transient emotion; a flash of fur moving through the trees sighted from a car traveling a hundred kilometers an hour, rather than our God-given inheritance.  As though joy and delight were only ever a passing fancy.   

And if we look no further than the reflected images of glory, our delight will always be transitory.  Creation is subject to the frustration of passing away and so we feel the forlorn desperation of flowers wilting and summer ending and the whirling spin of the Earth on its axis counting out our years inexorably to their conclusion--so that even our delight wears a forlorn melancholy like a veil. This is the shadowed delight of the World.

This is not our fate, though.  We the Redeemed are invited to stare into the face of Beauty Himself and linger, Son-bleached and golden in the effect of His presence.  True delight has no beginning and no end--eclipsing time by higher authority--and transforms the beholder by glory. As the active footsteps of faith, invite and expect the Holy Spirit to speak to you constantly; in prayer, through Scripture, in sermons, through the natural world, circumstances, stories, people, dreams, science, art, music--everything. What He reveals always spurs delight because He is speaking to you.  Like the rising of the sun increasingly reveals the lay of the land, so delight in God reveals more and more of God--which in turn, delights in a marvelous feedback loop.  Do what the Word says so that nothing will hinder your desire to be with God, for it is disobedience that causes us to hide from Him. Obey and leave the outcomes to God.  But with Him our wounds are fully healed and forgotten; the grime of sin washed away and our true nature, the one born by water and blood and the Spirit shines forth in harmony to delight the Creator who formed it.  For who we truly are is revealed in the perfect light of God’s presence and that identity--the one He gives--is the one that overcomes the world.


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