Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth tremble before Him.
Tucson is in its greatest glory after a rain. And creosote embraces me as I step out the door into the bright, bright night sky. And up overhead is Orion and his belt, my favorite constellation, because it’s the one easiest to find.
Next week my ninth graders are going to start the Odyssey and I am laying awake at night trying to think of how to sweep them into the grand journey there and back again of a hero, of all those men and women who looked up into the sky at those three bright stars in a tidy row and felt place. And the heavens stretch up into eternity and holy beauty.
But there is another kind of beauty, d’un beau affreux, ugly-beautiful. Because God is always good and I am always loved. Everything is eucharisteo. The hard discipline to number the griefs as grace because as the surgeon would cut open to heal, so God chooses to cut into my ungrateful heart to make me whole again. -Voskamp
And this is the true hero. The disinterested one who can see grace, give thanks, find joy in this sin-stinking place.
Because this one can see Jesus in the pain in the angry faces in the broken world because his or her eyes are fixed on Him. No matter the circumstances under the starlit sky.
What compels me to name these moments upheavals and annoyances instead of grace and gift? Why deprive myself of joy’s oxygen? The swiftness and starkness of the answer startle. Because you believe in the power of the pit.
Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger achieves more than love? That Satan’s way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily walk than Jesus’ way? Isn’t it because I think complaining, exasperation, resentment will pound me up into the full life I really want? Then I choose–and it is a choice–to crush joy with bitterness, am I purposefully choosing to take the way of the Price of Darkness? Choosing the angry way of Lucifer because I think it is more effective–more expedient–than giving thanks?
I am Hagar lost and afraid, and I want to step back, flee. Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. Hagar and her son were dying of thirst with a well less than a bowshot away.
Why do I lunge for control instead of joy? Is it somehow more perversely satisfying to flex control’s muscle. Ah–power–like Satan. Do I think Jesus-grace too impotent to give me the full life? If I am rejecting the joy that is hidden somewhere deep in this moment–am I not ultimately rejecting God. Whenever I am blind to joy’s well, isn’t it because I don’t believe in God’s care? –Voskamp
Do you trust Me?
So I didn’t sleep so well last night on my hard little bed, mulling over how I can walk my students through this truth. How to listen to God’s whisper as we journey, to hear His voice, to see His face, and to see His face in each face not only around us, in the sweaty dingy-walled classroom, but out there as well, let the whole earth tremble before Him.
Well, that and trying to figure out my tangled Spanish class as well. Stumbling forward somehow.
To see His face in each one of these faces with darting, restless eyes, young bodies rocking back and forth in their chairs, furtively eyeing their iPhone flipped over in the center of the table, wondering what’s next, well, actually wondering when they will be able to make a dash to the vending machine for another bag of hot Cheetos.
My heart says to You, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”