Tag Archives: creation

When You Feel Like a Nobody In a World Clamoring For Fame

Last month our family snorkeled off the coast of Cancun at what is part of the world’s second largest barrier reef.  The next day we pulled on wetsuits to wade through the turquoise cenotes (natural sinkholes) in caves underneath a Mayan jungle. In these limestone caves were the most spectacular treasures of sparkling stalagmites and stalactites, and in the ocean new surprises to be seen around every fan of coral. On both days it struck me that from the above ground view you would never know what beauty lied beneath. That hidden under the sea and a remote jungle was beauty never to be seen by most people, every bit as spectacular as a sunset displayed for the whole world to see.

God could have left these hidden places void of his splendor. But when He called his creation good, it wasn’t based on how many millions would see it. It was good simply because he beautifully created it, even if not seen by a soul.

This isn’t our how our culture thinks though, is it? According to our “go big or go home” way of thinking we might even question God on his strategic marketing plan: “Wouldn’t such beauty be better placed where it could be seen by the masses?

But this same misguided mindset isn’t just in business (or ministry), it filters into our thinking – personally – in subtle ways. God created us with a longing to be known/to be seen. But we miss seeing his knowledge of us, and pleasure in us, is enough.

We’ve bought into the lie that our value is based on the recognition and accolades we receive from the world. Is it any wonder the mom making endless peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and running carpool, or the mom whose nest is nearly or now empty, might struggle with significance and contentment?

But it’s certainly not limited to moms, it’s all of us – in every field and walk of life. Just consider the explosion of reality TV stars, YouTube sensations and InstaFamous bloggers. The clamoring of teens and adults for more “likes,” more popularity/fame, more hustle, more people paying attention to us. As author Sara Hagerty writes in her new book Unseen we live as if “performance earns our keep.”

But in our search for significance we’re never completely satisfied. There’s always more to be had. But when we’re so consumed with what everyone else is doing and how we compare, we forget God divinely placed us right where we are. Some will have big audiences and lots of applause. Others will have only their small little tribe and maybe not much, or any, affirmation at all.

But he sees. He put you there. With purpose. And he delights in you, not because of what you’re doing but because he made you.

Can you believe “the One who created praise itself,” (as written by Hagerty), the one who knitted you hidden in the womb, it is he who delights in you! And he doesn’t care how many followers you have, what your platform is or how successful you are.

Do you see him standing there cheering you on? Can you hear his applause?

I hope so. Wherever you feel hidden, less significant, unproductive or not enough may you know his pleasure today and find true contentment in him.

When I think about what I saw in the ocean and in the underground caves, and when I’ve been deep in the trees on a mountain hike, or peering out at the landscape surrounding the oh so tiny Portuguese village of Marvao, I am utterly awestruck that God saw fit to place some of his most magnificent creation out of view.

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How Can We Know God is Good?

I have finally gotten to my friend Courtney Doctor’s devotional book, From Garden to Glory, for my morning time in the Word. Like my teen devotional it starts with Creation and The Garden because if we don’t get our story straight in the beginning we will misread and misapply Scripture. Too often we view our Bibles as more of an instruction manual than the one unfolding story of a conquering king who came to rescue and redeem his people.

So I’m in Genesis, chapter one.  Something I’ve read and heard since I was a small child, and written about myself. It can be tempting to skip over familiar passages like this, but I’m glad I didn’t. Once again God’s inexhaustible, living and active word struck me in a new way.

This time, the repetitive phrase, “Let there be…and there was” jumped out at me. You know, let there be day and night. Let there be heaven and earth. Let there be vegetation, the sun and the moon, creatures and mankind. And there was and It was good.

God spoke creation into being and declared everything good. So my big thought of the day: If this was true then, isn’t it still true now?

In Hebrews 13:8 we read, “Jesus (who is God) is the same yesterday, today and forever.”  And in Psalm 100:5, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever.” Therefore, according to God’s unchanging nature and the authority of his word, it has to be that still today what the Lord declares/decrees (Let there be) will come to pass (And there was) according to his perfect plan (It was good).

This can be tough to swallow. I’m wrestling with it even now as too much bad is happening all around me.  How can we make sense of sin, suffering and trials being ordained for our good?  The thing is we may never understand the whys. Even so, I can either reject the truth of God’s goodness and sovereign rule, and live completely hopeless, or I can ask him to help me trust him and live with the hope of his promises.

I chose the latter.

At the cross, Jesus declared victory over sin, death and the devil. That is why we call Good Friday “good” even though it was the day of Christ’s gruesome and undeserved death. At the cross, God’s word is made more real to us not by answering our whys, but giving us a Savior who entered in with us and for us. Jesus did everything necessary to satisfy God’s wrath and declare “It is finished” so we can know with certainity that our love has been secured.  Let there be…And there was…it was good.

If this is true, when I experience the pain and heartbreak of this world, by God’s grace I can my fix eyes on another world and remember this is not my home.  One day all things will be made right and his perfect peace will rule forever.  Let there be…And there was…it was good.

If this is true, when I struggle with my identity and worth, by God’s grace I can know my security in the One who declared me holy, perfect and righteous according to who Jesus is for me! By the power of his word may this mean more to me than what I see as true. Let there be…And there was…it was good.

His Word is his guaranteed goodness to all who believe. It doesn’t take away the trials or prevent suffering, but it promises that one day he will wipe away all of the tears.  And even if it is not until we stand with him in glory, a day is coming that we will taste and see that he is good.

The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8

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