RSS

Tag Archives: grace

The Sky is Always Blue

The Sky is Always Blue

I’ve lived in some very polluted cities around the world.

Often times, the sky would be hazy with dust and smog. And even when the air was relatively clear, thick clouds would regularly blanket the entire metropolis.

So when a “blue sky day” occurred, it was something that was celebrated indeed!

After many years of living with clouds, I just came to a realization.

Every day is a blue sky day.

Whether we can see it or not, the sky is always blue.

Sometimes there are clouds in the way, but the truth remains: just beyond them, the most brilliant azure color waits to be acknowledged and enjoyed.

IMG_1751_edited-1Today was a cloudy day. Cotton wool stretched across the entire view from my window, but every once in a while, a small fissure appeared revealing the blue beneath. A reminder that an “overcast” day is simply that: one which is covering the reality, but not one that has replaced it. The daytime sky is never dark; only the clouds that intervene between us and it make it seem so.

Today was a cloudy day in other ways as well. Receiving the news from friends of hardship ahead brought a bit of grey into our world. The light is a little harder to perceive and enjoy. The blessing of God seems a little more subtle and farther removed.

But it’s still there.

No matter how many clouds pile up, nor how long they remain, the sky is always blue. The truth of reality does not change, will not change. The Light of the world never grows dim; it just gets shrouded from our eyes from time to time.

And it’s at those moments that we must yet believe that it is still there.

Sometimes, we’re graced with reminders. Little fissures in the wet blankets of life allow us to peer through, to see beyond our immediate circumstances, calling us back to the truth of what always lies beyond, whether we can see it or not.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

More Grace for the Moment

Ten months ago, I wrote about an experience of God carrying me through a rigorous season.

I’m lately having yet another experience of His just-in-time blessing and preservation.

I’m not a night person. At all. I never have been. I never pulled all-nighters in college in order to finish term papers. I could hardly even stay up all night when I was younger and was hanging out with my friends–I distinctly remember falling asleep half way through Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back when attempting to do an all-night viewing of the original trilogy.

If I can’t stay awake for Star Wars, I’m pretty sure that there’s nothing that can convert me into a night owl.

Except for maybe the grace of God.

And then, only when I need it.

This semester, I’m taking another graduate course in mathematics. It’s a distance education program, and because I live overseas, class begins at 10pm my time…and finishes at 11:15pm.

I usually go to bed between 9:30pm and 10pm.

My wife can invariably tell when I’m tired because my eyes get bloodshot, especially my right eye. It gets irritated to the point that it’s sometimes uncomfortable to keep it open if I’m too tired. It gets ugly red, and I’m done for.

I’m a couple of weeks into the semester now, and have to stay up way past my bedtime two nights a week in order to log-in to class.

And so far: no bloodshot eyes.

Not once.

Some nights, my eyes would go bloodshot at 9:31pm…my body warning me that I better start getting ready for bed soon.

But over the last couple of weeks, no problems.

Sometimes my eyes are a little weary (I’m blogging right now in order to keep myself awake during the next two hours until my class starts), but even then, they’re not bloodshot.

Sometimes when I would go to bed with bloodshot eyes, I would wake up and they would still be red. Even 8.5 hours of sleep (my preference) wouldn’t be sufficient for ocular recovery.

But in this season, when I have no choice but to stay awake past my preferred bedtime, I find my eyes functioning well, with minimal discomfort.

All I can say is: grace for the moment.

A week before the semester, staying up late brought bloodshot eyes, but now I have just what I need, just when I need it.

It was reported to me once that John Bunyan, author of classic spiritual novel The Pilgrim’s Progress, had a season of life when he was sequestered away in a tower (for his own safety, I think, but perhaps as imprisonment). The tower was exactly what you would imagine in the 17th century: cold stone walls and floor, a simple bed frame and a meager writing desk. When John walked into his new room, he exclaimed, “All this and eternity too!”

John Bunyan had an amazing perspective on life: knowing that his eternity was secure through his faith in Jesus Christ, every other blessing in life was just icing on this divine dessert. That God would not only grant him salvation, but also provide other blessings, benefits, and gifts was just amazing–and encouraging–to John.

I confess that I rarely have such a perspective. But I do try to make an effort to at least acknowledge when I do perceive a blessing. Bloodshot-free eyes when I need them. And today, I got my car back after 2.5 weeks in the shop. The transmission now runs better than ever. And there was no charge. The dealer worked with the warranty company, and then waived the excess charges.

Both of these…and eternity too.

God’s eternal grace is experienced in the here and now. He watches us. He cares for us. He gives us what we need for the seasons that we find ourselves in.

More grace. Grace upon grace. Grace for eternity. Grace for the moment.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Undeserved

fields (photographed by author)

I live in a really pretty place.

Sure, at some points during the year, it can be a bit drab and wet.

But right now, it’s gorgeous. Sunshine. Ocean. Green fields. Cliffs. Blooming flowers. Blue skies, and the fastest-moving puffy white clouds you’ve ever seen!

Even people that have made there home here for several years still remark, “I can’t believe I live here!”

 

 

I’ve traveled a lot; while every place has its own unique charms and blessings, I can say that not every place has the same degree or type of beauty. Across all categories, my current home town is hard to beat!

sunset (photographed by author)

I could certainly understand if some people remarked, “It’s not fair that you get to live there!” Many of my friends live in hard areas. I previously lived in a city that was so polluted that there were times I couldn’t even sit in some rooms of my house without my lungs burning from the toxins.

Looking around, I could easily consider this place to be a tremendous reward for people; after having lived a difficult life, endured hardship and “ugliness,” the opportunity to retire here would be a sweet recompense for the struggles of previous decades.

 

But what about me? I really haven’t lived lived very long in very hard places; why do I get to live here? I certainly haven’t merited it.

It’s undeserved.

It’s a lesson in grace for me. There’s nothing I’ve done to earn the privilege of living in a beautiful, comfortable place. There is no amazing achievement for which I deserve the reward of enjoying a home in an absolutely incredible environment.

And yet, here I am.

coast (photographed by author)

I believe that God sent me here, to work, to serve others. I have many friends that were also sent by God to work and serve others–but the places they’re in don’t appear on any vacation brochure.

So why me?

It’s just grace. There’s no other reason. Completely undeserved, and yet given to me nonetheless.

The challenge? Ensuring that I don’t let myself slip into a sense of entitlement, or to start trying to imagine all the good things I’ve done that have led to attaining this reward for myself.

With life experience like this, I just can’t believe in karma: there is nothing I have done that merits this degree of blessing. Yet here it is.

cliffs (photographed by author)

 

Perhaps it’s more like Pay It Forward: having been given this unmerited blessing, what am I now going to do to be a blessing to others? There is a challenge to be a good steward. Able to enjoy a relatively simple life in a beautiful place, how am I going to invest my time and energy in others? Will I just stand around and enjoy the pretty views, breathe the fresh air, and be at leisure?

 

 

Or will I live in gratitude and freedom? In the midst of a life-giving environment, will I give that life to others?–unmerited, undeserved.

Will I invite others into my home, that they too may partake of the peace and beauty?–free, unmerited, undeserved.

Will I give thanks to God, for lavishing upon me what I have not earned and far more than I need?–magnificent, free, unmerited, undeserved.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Life, Theology

 

Tags: , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: