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9.04.2010

BITS OF HEAVEN ON EARTH

I have no idea how to describe heaven.  I've not been there, yet.  In my mind when reading scripture, listening to teachings about heaven, reading books about people's near death experiences to the other side or even just in my own big, wild imagination I still can't get a clear picture of it.  I am a highly visual person.  It's both my learning style and my creating style. It leaves me at a great disadvantage with this whole heaven thing.  So, since I haven't seen it, I struggle to feel the sensations that go with understanding the magnificence of heaven.  The only thing I can do is think of what brings me great soul filling moments of awe and wonder - nature.  In fact, pretty much all things nature.  There was a woods behind our farm house and growing up I made the trek to it constantly.  God was there in the shady mossy side of the trees and in the rotted fallen ones now laying horizontal.  As I looked up through the thick foliage of trees, I felt Him in the delicate light trickling down to the ground.  I heard him in the frogs.  Always could I find Him, available, accessible.  Sometimes I would lay on the ground and watch the clouds.  He was there travelling across the earth watching over all His creation.  I knew that He was always present.  As I ran my miles between the fields of corn I heard Him in the rustle of the wind through the stalks.  I saw that He speaks constantly and I wanted to hear Him always.  Floating across the lake I saw Him in the brilliant sunlight that reflected and danced off the water.  He said lightness brings freedom.  When the thunder and lightning of summer thunderstorms shook the earth I saw God.  He does not mean me harm in hard times, but wants to renew and change me.  Would I trust Him for the good secretly hidden in the bad?   When I wrapped my then 7 year old daughter up in a blanket and carried her outside at midnight to see the lunar eclipse, I cried.  If God can orchestrate the stars and planets, He can easily handle my life.  At 8 or 9 years old in Northern Michigan sitting under a big pine tree - resting on a bed of soft needles, covered over entirely underneath its branches in the middle of a rain shower but not feeling one drop, I knew God was where I could run to.  He was a hiding place.  As I sat on my porch staring at the harvest moon suspended in the sky I felt God's power in the darkness.  He is light in my dark times even when nothing else makes sense.  Playing tag with my cousins in the dewiness of late summer as dusk rolls across the earth, I saw God.  He wants to cover me.  Laying in a sleeping bag in the Boundary Waters, still in their pure state - unaffected by chaotic civilization, I saw God in the simple quietness.   He spoke that life was simpler than I made it at times.  Return to pure and simple and there I would always find Him.  Standing at the ocean's edge hearing the sound of the waves, watching their rhythm and orchestration, looking at the endless bigness of the water and sand, I knew God had lessened Himself even in creation so that we could look upon Him.  He was so big and I so small and I liked that.  I felt honored and humbled that God, through Jesus, would become less so I could know Him.  As I got out of the car at the Grand Canyon I was bombarded by the all surpassing greatness of who God is. I didn't want to leave, but couldn't stand in that presence without tears streaming down my face.  He was big, small, deliberate, precise, creative, loving, calling, pursuing, speaking, full of grace, forgiving and just WAS always.  I can't see and feel what heaven is like from a book.  But, I can imagine that if nature holds the character of God displayed for us, then heaven will be everything that makes up God.  Sort of like earth's nature in heaven.  Simple and pure and wide open....much like the Grand Canyon - that place I didn't want to ever leave.

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