“Daughter, I’ve now lived a hundred and nine winters in this world and never yet met any such thing as luck.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy
Hello you. How’s your day been? I’ll be honest and admit that a mug of coffee sugared with sleep could possibly work a mighty miracle on me right now. Clanging claps in cupboard, fresh rugs of dirt on the floor. I suppose it all comes with the territory, but I want you to know that wherever you’re at this afternoon, I’m sincerely glad you’re here.
There’s an intentionality to relationships, have you ever noticed that? From the purpose-driven pursuit to the lucky handshake, it’s always felt to me as though there were an invisible conductor within the universe slowly stirring a harmony of reason, twining lives together.
Once upon November, the Captain and I fell in with one another, tumbling into an unexpected lifelong adventure. About the same time, a dear friend of mine walked the humble path of intentional love with a man and met betrayal and suffering at the end.
We meet friends and we lose them. Dreams smash and all the broken pieces seem to spell out is why? And isn’t that always the question? The thought’s been simmering on the old heart stove for a few days now, especially following the rare twilight of Monday’s eclipse.
Wandering through the Psalms always serves to encourage me when I read the soulful pilgrimages of David’s heart. But this week I came upon several verses detailing God’s righteousness and his sovereignty in creation. From the agonizing depths of Job to the souring truth of Romans, God’s express skill and intent in everything He made is clear. From day one of creation right up to today’s latest chapter, there’s a master craftsman claiming ownership of everything.
I don’t pretend to have perfect answers to any of the hard questions. Why do relationships die? Why do loved ones leave? Why is there such a tragic spectrum of lost and found in this world?
Believe me I’ve thrown many of these heavenward myself, but if God is who He says that He is, then I suppose the best answer is to trust the one who’s already written the end of the story.
The brokenness of what is fallen attempts to smear selfishness into our pain, a kind of fear that makes a callous out of a beating heart. But there is no accident within God’s plan, for the sovereignty of the Beautiful One means that even the dark moments that bruise and shatter into a thousand questions are able to be remade into a vision of his presence.
I can’t say I understand the ease with which astronomers look upon the glory of something so perfect as a total eclipse and chalk it up to chance. In fact a great many of them over the years have been audibly unable to shake their haunted observance of this massive lottery of luck that our universe has apparently won. What the heart truly seeks to rest upon is purpose, the truth that proclaims God’s authorship of everything.
I’ve come upon many lucky finds in my life, but by now I’m more inclined to receive them for what they are, gifts. The great regnant accident in which two needy hearts collide is ruled not by chance but by the composer of love itself.
The eclipse was a thing of wonder, even for those not in the path of the totality. But seeing the photos and hearing about the experience of those that witnessed the full orchestration sent me to 1st Kings Eight, and there in the dark hush I found Solomon, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud.” Glory mounting on clouds that filled the temple with his presence. Even then, He met his people in the dark. When the Cross tore down the veil between us and that very same holy place, Emmanuel came to rest in human hearts, and sometimes like Solomon I still wonder, “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”
All that God has made echoes His name, and from creation to companionship we witness the work of his hands. And in that rare moment of twilit stillness, when the face of the earth’s lamp is covered, it only serves to remind us what the Israelites knew. The might of our God fills even the darkness, and his presence is the only light we really need.
Here are some words I jotted down the evening after the solar event had passed. May they stir praise to the Maker and join me in seeking peace for the heart, even one still engaged in a wrestling match of why. So long as each round trusts the end to amen, then perhaps one day understanding will come.
A gem of light to ring the sun,
Living lightning in fiery crown.
A halo displayed, the awesome craft,
A song of deliverance from skies come down.
The horizon is laid in Sinai’s cloak.
You sit enthroned in the clouded dark.
Earth bows before the righteousness,
of a Sovereign God who perceives the heart.
With care you taught the heavens their course,
Set the steps of the dance for great lords above.
Now you’ve rolled away a stone once more
That sun and moon might tell of your love.
Who sowed lights in Heaven’s field?
Can you name the face of each fallen star?
Where were you when the divided dark
Was flung into night from near to far?
I breathe the soul of purposed grace,
The earth you keep, still more my soul
The prayer of a saint is indeed heard in Heaven,
And the holy ghost makes suffering whole.
All work subject to copyright by the author. Use by permission only. 2017.
Images via: Nathan Dumlao, Yosh Ginsu, Mikesh Kaos, Delfi de la Rua, Bryan Minear, Paul Rysz on Unsplash, Annie Spratt (From Uplash.com)