Saturday, October 27, 2012

Holy, Holy, Holy

I wrote about God's holiness recently; it's amazing how God provides new information and insight to me as I read and pray. It certainly motivates me to continue studying the Bible and to read devotional materials. Combine this desire with my lifelong love of the book of Isaiah, and it equals another snagged book (from my husband before he read it): Isaiah by the Day by Alec Motyer.

Alec Motyer has made a devotional translation of the book of Isaiah, explaining many of his translation decisions along the way. It's been very interesting to explore Isaiah this way, and I really love the lingual nuances Motyer describes.

One thing in particular has caught my attention: apparently in Biblical Hebrew, one makes the superlative of a word by repeating the word. Motyer gives the examples of Genesis 14:10 where "full of pits" is literally "pits pits" and 2 Kings 25:15 where "solid gold" is literally "gold gold." He goes on to say that the holiness of the Lord is the only instance in the Old Testament where the authors used a threefold repetition.

So God isn't only holy holy... He is holy, holy, HOLY. 

 He's not only separate, uncommon, pure, perfect... He's so far from that we don't have words for it! We can't even imagine it. I can't begin to understand it! Which is why I study my Bible, read devotional materials, and pray. Those activities sometimes give me a glimpse of God, just the barest glimpse.

I cling to those glimpses. I don't often understand how they fit together or how they fit the world or my life. But I know, I know, they are holy. They are not from me, of me, or through me. They are uncommon.

And when those glimpses are put together, when I am in the presence of God someday (through the finished work of Christ), I will be singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" with all of God's creation, in the glory of all that I do not now understand. It will be far more amazing than the pieces of glass I put together in my studio to make art.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


A friend recently said, "I hope my life gets back to normal soon!" She has had some family challenges lately, and I deeply understand her desire for better days, but normal isn't a word I  use in this context anymore.

God doesn't promise us a carefree and easy life. In fact, He often reminds us that we will have difficulties ahead. He tells us to expect trouble to come our way.

Life has proven this out for me. Every season of my life has had its challenges and troubles, and I've learned that this IS life. Truly. This is it. With all its warts, bumps, and tragedies. The pains walk hand-in-hand with the joys. The days are filled with new babies, abused children, winning prizes, and losing loved ones.

But God doesn't abandon us to the whims of fate. Psalm 54:4 says it well: "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." He upholds us in the midst of trouble. Life has taught me this, too.

In the past month, all five of my husband's and my parents have experienced health difficulties. From heart surgery to bad cancer news. From a dementia diagnosis to pneumonia. And I can honestly say, I haven't been stressed out. Not by spending days in the ER and hospital with our five-yr-old. Not by giving up my own plans to help out. Not by the fear of losing any one (or more) of them.

Not to say I haven't been sad. I have been. Not to say there weren't times I wished I were somewhere else. I did.  But I am seeing it all through the lens of God's Grace. It's like this picture: Life is as blemished and worn as the siding behind the glass, but when we have faith, we see it all, the bad and the good, through the overriding beauty of God's Love and Grace.

Normal isn't having good stuff happen to us. It's not getting back to the good times. It's taking ALL life gives us and seeing it through the eyes of God's Amazing Love and Grace. And with the strength God gives us, we can do that.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Early Morning Grace

For a long time, I have walked in the early morning. For me, it's a good time to walk despite the darkness for most of the year. This year, however, I have been reluctant to walk in the dark because of my broken elbow. I have been using what used to be my swimming time to walk, and it's been good.

Last week, I returned to swimming, if you can call what I'm doing swimming. So today, I returned to walking in the early morning dark. My first impression was, "Wow! It's really dark." With just a bit of fear. I watched the ground in front of me in the moonlight, hoping for stable footing.

Then I looked up. I'd completely forgotten how beautiful the early morning sky is. How the darkness accentuates the piercing light of the stars and planets. How the sweep of the morning sky takes my breath away in its glory.

I probably looked the fool, standing in my driveway, gaping up with my blinky-lights flashing, but I want to be a fool for this: God's Glory. So I stood there a long while. I wish I could say  Here I am to Worship  was running through my head, but it wasn't. I was simply drinking in God's grace.

How many times is the glory of God Almighty hanging above our heads, just waiting for us to look up? How many times, when we're looking down in fear, is grace surrounding us in anticipation of our attention? An infinite number of times. From an infinitely glorious and grace-giving God.