I have learned so much in the past couple years of my life. I might even be bold enough to say that I have learned more in the past 24 months than I have the other 24 years of my life combined. I am sitting in my room, writing as I do from time to time, and a song that I have on one of my playlists continues to stand out to me. I hear the words, and I feel that it’s finally making sense. It’s a song about love. It has inspired the content of this post-
I don’t mean to get all sappy or anything, but I want to validate my thoughts in writing. I have had some bad things happen to me. I have also had some great things happen to me. I have found that it is incredibly easy to focus and remember the bad things and forget the good…why is that? I’ve lost jobs, friends, I’ve been deceived, lied to, heartbroken, robbed, attacked, and accused. I have also been praised, thanked, honored, blessed, educated, lifted, and most importantly- loved. I have been loved by my family and friends, by complete strangers, and by God.
I am saying this to lead up to a quite simple point. Good things will happen to you. Bad things will happen to you. God places us in “situations” where we feel helpless. At times, we feel as though the next move that we make should be waiting for God to act in our lives. However, I am finding that God is constantly testing our ability to persevere by watching us use the free will he granted to us. Case in point, it is a decision that our Father has given to us. If we want to be more like Him, we must listen to His voice in tandem with making the choice to be happy. For example, I have found that my previous life without Christ would have dictated a poor result out of the scenario I will tell you about now-
I recently had my camera stolen. My camera went with me everywhere. It came with me to the city, to various work trips, volunteering, and 100% of my own “extracurricular” activities. Photography is my passion, and I have spent many hours chasing daylight, squinting at starry skies, and sat waiting, pensively alone beside my camera. When it was stolen, all of that was gone. Lenses, tools, gadgets…everything… gone. I stared at the broken glass on the concrete beside my car in disbelief. It felt as though the floor gave way beneath me and I no longer had my feet on the ground. I could sulk, or I could take a different stance in regards to the situation.
Needless to say, I rode home heartbroken. I didn’t turn on the radio. I didn’t listen to anything. I didn’t want to hear what anyone else was going to say because I didn’t want to think about the reality of it. I wanted to ignore it. After a few hours, I began to think about the person that broke into my vehicle and took all of my personal belongings. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Who would do that? That was MY camera I had worked so hard for. I continued thinking.. God was at work inside my hear in that moment. I thought about what my life would be like if I was resorting to theft in order to get by. By no means am I condoning theft, and if faced wish the option, I’d prefer to have my camera and gear back… however, God asks us to love. We have a choice.
I began to pray relentlessly for the person that needed my property more than I did. I prayed that their life would one day lead them to a true love for God. I prayed that somehow whatever they took from me will help them, or change the course of their life for the better. He reminded me that when I choose to love him more than anything, I am making the choice. I want to express to you the importance of the cognizant choice to be happy. He has not and he will not show me a sign or signal that the result of this situation means something more than it is. I will move forward. I will own a new camera one day, and I will have peace the entire time.
God hasn’t given me more than I can handle.
I have found this love unlike many of the awesome stories that I’ve heard other Christians mention in small groups, and sermons that I’ve listened to in the past. I don’t have a glamorous story about a hiking trip I made where God spoke to me, or the room that I was in when I felt the Holy Spirit whispered into my soul. No, I’ve had humble beginnings as a Christian, but it has culminated to this very moment. I have learned to give God the foremost love. “Foremost” as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: Most important, of first rank or position. He is first.
I am constantly active in conversations with people that involve issues of the heart, and with quandaries that seem to be decisions bigger than we are. Well, of course they are, right? They are, but when your heart is closest to God, the decision that you make will be the right one. It’s likely that he won’t whisper to you in your dreams. He won’t chisel a stone pallet with commandments for you. He won’t nudge you. I hesitate to say some of these predictions, because he may, but a much more likely possibility is that God is waiting for you. He knows your heart, and he wants to see your love. He wants you to be close to him so that when you make decisions, it’ll be what he wanted anyway.
I am fascinated by everything my God has created, especially the stars. So many songs about stars. I have long tried to capture the perfect shot of the stars, but I’m not fully ready for the shot that I keep envisioning. The song I mentioned earlier in the post has some beautiful lines involving stars. To close, I want to tell you to love God first. This isn’t hard. When he is the forefront of our thoughts, our actions follow suit. As we tithe our earnings, we also need to tithe our hearts and minds. Do everything you do with love. When you love God first, you’ll find that He is beautiful beyond our wildest dreams.
“We are amazed in the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who You are, You’re beautiful
-Phil Wickham, Messiah/You’re Beautiful
P.S. You’re such a Heavenly view.