Scott Jones – Gilbert Campus Pastor
This summer our family took an incredible trip to Costa Rica. It was somewhat of a gift for my daughter Morgan who graduated from high school and always wanted to go to the rain forest. As I was planning the trip I noticed there was quite a variety of topography, places to go and things to see. Of course there was the Rain Forest, beautiful beaches and lots of wildlife. But when I discovered there was a volcano I knew that was one thing that we wanted to see. This is not a plug but we stayed at a place called the Arenal Observatory Lodge in La Fortuna. And yes, we needed a four-wheel-drive to get there. The day that we arrived it was raining which didn’t upset us too much. First, because were from Arizona and love it when we can get some rain. And secondly well, it was the “Rain” Forest. The volcano was pretty much in our backyard. But we could not see the top of it, which was kind of a bummer. The people at the resort said, “Oh don’t expect to see the tip of the volcano. It’s normally covered with clouds and it’s rare for people to be able to see it.” So we accepted that as fact and sort of settled in to be content with seeing what we could and being where we were. After the evening rain, the next morning the sun came out and the sky was completely clear. And the first thing we did was look out to see if we could see what we wanted to see. And there was the tip of Arenal Volcano in all its glory!
We were so grateful to be able to see that. I know this may not be true but it was as if God gave that to us that day is a gift. He didn’t need to. I’m not sure if we even asked him to. But I choose to believe that by his grace he simply revealed something that most people don’t get to see. And so everyone who was in La Fortuna that day got to see the glory of God.
You know, we go through most of our lives never getting to see the “tip of the volcano.” A lot of our lives are filled with routine, duty, chores, going to work, doing laundry, changing diapers, paying bills, doing homework. And with God’s help we can learn to be content with life as it is. We don’t see the glory of God every day.
But every once in a while, God decides to give us that gracious gift and show us his glory – in the birth of our daughter or son, in the healing of a friend’s cancer, in the restoration of a marriage, in the gentle reminder that we are loved. God didn’t have to do any of those things. And he would be right and good and just all the same.
When we see the glory of God we should embrace it and all of its fullness.
But we should never demand it, or expect to see it every day. But when we do we should humbly celebrate it. Every time we do see the glory of God it fuels us until the next time he unexpectedly surprises us. And that is how it is in this life. The writer Paul explains it this way in Romans 8:22-25.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
So we all long for the day when we will see the glory of God forever. Until then, we keep looking it for it knowing that in this life we only see a shadow of what is to come. Again, Paul reminds us; We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (I Corinthians 13:12)
So on this day, long to see “the tip of the volcano” but live content with what God reveals in each moment. And one day all of our longings will be fulfilled.