Do you ever wonder what a person from 200 years ago would think if you just plonked them down in the middle of one of our cities?
Sometimes as I’m driving along I’m struck by the absurdity of the world I live in – a world that would surely be incomprehensible to people only three or four generations before me.
The concrete jungles that fall like a perfectly normal backdrop for our existence have, in reality, only existed in the last 100 years.
As we march forward, proudly carrying the greatest of human progress, I wonder if we have failed to stop and look for what we can no longer see. We’ve replaced so much of what is natural for what is artificial and many of us have lost God in the process.
It does not astound me that atheism’s unprecedented growth has coincided with the industrial revolution. Humanity cannot find God in his creation because they are blinded by the glory of their own creation. As I drive through the city my vision is dominated by cars and roads and buildings and power lines and paths and lights and planes and clothes and shoes and fences and windows… and suddenly man is the creator.
If only we would turn off our fluorescent bulbs for a second, we might be able to see beyond ourselves; to see that before we had covered the earth with our creations, far superior creations existed, and they must have come from somewhere.
I was recently in Las Vegas. I had low expectations of glitzy facades attempting to cover seedy bars and casinos, and filthy streets; I wasn’t expecting to love it.
But love it I did. It was fabulous: glitter and glamour, bright lights and creativity and a central strip that never sleeps. It was like a giant, adult carnival, and the seediness, while certainly present, wasn’t as overt as I’d feared. I remember walking down the strip one night, past the extraordinary fountains of the Bellagio and the soaring spire of the Eiffel Tower and thinking that human creativity had outdone itself. Here in Vegas, was everything that man had to offer.
Two days later, I drove out of Vegas and went to the Grand Canyon. The contrast was immense. Not just in size and in grandeur, but in heart. In Vegas, human creativity was at its peak, at the Canyon, we caught a glimpse of God’s. And it won, hands down.
The next day we were in Monument Valley, and we rode through the desert on horseback. The silence was overwhelming. The monuments rose, towering trough the frigid air. They were so sure of themselves. Their majesty did not need the adornment of bright lights, or the lure of naked women. They didn’t care whether people came to look at them or not. They reflected the glory of their creator, and they will likely stand in worship of him, long after Vegas falls.
Have you ever really thought about the fact that God does not need anything beyond himself? This wowed me this week.
Not only is God completely self-sufficient, but He is completely happy in and of Himself.
He does not need our love
He does not need our approval
He does not need our company, or companionship or wealth or knowledge or advice or help.
He is the very definition of complete.
So why are we here? Why has He made Himself known to us? Why does He desire for us to know Him?
I think it is because creating and giving are completely within His nature. He created, because He is a creative God, and when He looked at His creation, He knew that knowing, loving and being in relationship with Him were the greatest and most fulfilling things that He could ever offer us.
So He wooed, He spoke, He gave and He loved, so that we could experience fullness of joy in Him.
God creates because He is a creator. He gives because He is a giver. He loves because He is a lover. We love because He first loved us.
I’m a bit of a fan of Master Chef. It inspires me to cook, and we all need a bit of that in our lives!
Last week, one of the most renowned and intimidating chefs in the world entered the kitchen: Marco Pierre White.
To say that the contestants were in awe was an understatement. Some fell to pieces, others were lost for words, and all wanted to cook the best they’d ever cooked.
I’m sure Marco deserves their accolades, but he doesn’t deserve their worship, and as I watched them, I wondered if any of them had ever given even half that awe filled response to their creator.
And then I wondered about myself; I who actually believe in God. Are there people on earth who make me tremble with more awe than He does?
Anything that becomes exalted to the level of God in our lives must be cut down. But even more than that, God must be lifted higher.
There was a Christian song I used to listen to as a teenager that had a line that said ‘Let me not forget to tremble.’ It was a great reminder to live in awe of a God whom we so quickly push into the shadows behind our worldly idols.
There are great and accomplished men and women in this world, but they must never hold a candle to our God.
She croons that ‘ducks don’t need satellites… they probably don’t know they’re up there… they most likely think the sky ends blue.’
When I need to pray about something that is really weighing on me, I take a walk down by the river near my house. I sit on a footbridge and look out at the water and the trees and the ever-present ducks.
While my life is in turmoil, theirs never is. They are not bored, or lazy; they’re busy but it’s a calm rhythmic type of busy. I look at them, and I wonder if, somewhere in the simplicity of their minds, they believe in God
Matthew 6 says to ‘look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.’
I feel a sense of calm as I look at the ducks, who are provided for daily by a God they likely have no capacity to conceive of. I see the trees which stand tall and strong, roots deep in the earth, nourished by a system set up by their creator… and it makes me wonder if we might be better off if we didn’t need satellites either.