A little over a year ago, I sat on a Phoenix deck overlooking the Camelback Mountains. The sky was a deep blue and the red rocks pressed up against the stunning backdrop made for an impressive view. On that January day, I was enjoying the respite from the freezing weather at home. Suddenly, my attention turned to a nearby, large palm tree. I was noticing the birds flying in and out of the feathery leaves and the distinctive trunk that all palm trees have. As I admired the particular tree, my thoughts turned towards the creativity of God. From there, my thoughts turned towards Him and I was just enjoying being with Him. It was one of those small moments that will be forever etched in my mind. It was such a sacred moment for me, I have rarely shared it.
I was not prepared for what happened next. Suddenly, a thought interrupted my own, "I've been looking forward to this moment with you since that large tree was a small seed." I sat there stunned. That's a long time! This little sentence I knew was from God, changed so much for me. Never before had I seen that not only does God like to be with us, but He anticipates moments with us; moments where our thoughts turn towards Him unexpectedly and we notice Him in the small spaces of our lives. Our thoughts don't turn towards Him first. His thoughts are already on us long before we are even aware. We can't understand it with our small, human minds, but just because we cannot understand it does not make it untrue. God is waiting to be noticed by us so that He can reveal more of His heart towards us.
In that moment, I realized God enjoys us as we enjoy His creation. When we are enjoying something beautiful and our thoughts turn towards Him, it is a moment He anticipates. He doesn't just know about it but looks forward to it! When a hidden away squirrel is born that will eventually make us laugh; when snow is falling through the night and we wake up to the wonder of ice crystals glistening in the sun and we pause; when a tiny seed holds the coming grand tree we admire and when the setting sun paints an unexpected, fiery glow across the sky that takes our breath away, God anticipates that moment in time when our thoughts may turn towards Him.
Even before we know something exists, God knows there will be an intersection of space and time where we may see the beauty and our thoughts may turn towards Him. What if He is hoping we won't stop there? We can stand in creation and be awed by God, but it is an entirely different thing when that moment turns into an intimate moment with God.
When we see something magnificent or even something small, the temptation can be to notice it and maybe even sometimes notice God, but often we don't realize He is noticing us back. He wants to enjoy it with us. There's a whole lot of difference between admiring a piece of art when the artist is not present with us and admiring the art with artist is standing right there. What if the artist is actually one who loves us and created the art for us? What if before the brush even hit the canvas, the artist is anticipating the moment when the one the art was created for sees the beauty of what is created for the first time? That is altogether different. That kind of art can bring us to tears. Even the simple drawing a child painstakingly creates for us can mean more to us than a print by Picasso. The God of the world has created beauty, humor, wildlife and all of the earth for His beloved mankind to enjoy. He created it for you and for me. Sometimes we can live so unaware.
Lisa Bevere says, "God doesn't love His children equally, but He loves them uniquely." I love this! What He loves about me is totally different than what He loves about you. What I enjoy and notice is different than what you will enjoy and notice. He doesn't look at us as one of many, but as a deeply loved individual. If we don't understand this, He remains a God 'out there' instead of the God who comes near.
There is one of Him but billions of us and sometimes we forget He allows Himself to be and is impacted by us. He searches for the 1 in 100 (Luke 15:4). He answers the prayers of children. He numbers the hairs on each of our heads (Luke 12:7) and He knows when we get up every morning (Psalm 139:2). He surrounds us with His love even when we are unaware (Psalm 33:22). The God who created the universe loves each of us deeply and uniquely.
I really shouldn't have been surprised that a God like this would anticipate a moment in time with me. It should not shock me that the God who knows all things, who is not trapped by space or time and who created all would think of that moment in the distant future; the moment that tiny seed would be a large tree and He would eventually speak those words to me. He was anticipating the future sacred moment because He knew it would give me a little bit clearer picture of Him and I would know Him a little more. He's a God who longs to reveal Himself to us. This is His goal.
This past week, our family has been spending a lot of time at Zion National Park in Utah. The week has been alive with God moments as I was noticing a flower in the cleft of a rock, standing at the top of a ridge looking over the valley with the winding Virgin River, looking up from the bottom of a canyon listening to that same river rushing over the rocks, looking over the cleft of a rock noticing the hanging plants and laughing at the fat squirrels begging for food. Now it feels as if moments in nature are full of expectation and the awareness that not only do my thoughts turn towards God in moments of beauty, but He has been anticipating these moments with me long before I even knew about them. It's the same for you!
What moments may God be anticipating with you today?
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