I was away this past weekend at a leadership retreat for our church. We rented a chalet on the top of a mountain (a big hill, really) and waited on God, cooked and ate food together, waited on God, enjoyed each others' company and waited on God. On the surface, it seemed like a pretty low-key event, but the change in us when we got back to the Sunday night meeting was dynamic. It was like we had all just grown ten feet taller and were so much more focused and had so much more love and grace and direction and encouragement to give.
On Sunday morning, the last day of the retreat, I awoke at 6 am which is really unusual for me as I am a late night person, but there was a reason for it. On Saturday night we deduced that the sun came up over the lake the chalet was facing (we had all lost our sense of direction driving up the twisting mountain roads) and I thought, wow, the sunrise must be cool to see, so I asked God to wake me up if there was a good sunrise to be seen. And he did. I pulled a jacket over my pajamas and stood at the window for just over an hour (creeping out on the balcony occasionally to snap some pictures) and the sun seemed to take forever to come up from behind the distant hills. Since there were no clouds, just a few wisps of smoke from some nearby cabins and a bit of mist hovering near the ground, the sky wasn't all that showy. But when the sun finally came over the grey mountains, it's brilliance was magnificent in contrast to the stark hills and bare sky. It was so bright I could hardly stand to look at it and my camera freaked out with all the light. And to think that it does that every day and I rarely take notice of it.
The power of God is not always a showy thing. Yes, I love the times when I experience the outright visible extravagance of God or when I can physically see something change or can tangibly feel his presence, but many times God is not outwardly showy. He often works beneath the surface, he usually does not announce his masterful work or radical generosity or mind-blowing wisdom or call all that much attention to himself. He waits for people to look for him, to come close to him, to wait on him, to desire him, to ask him, to give themselves into his hands. And then he responds. Usually not in huge demonstrations of power that would amaze us and scare us and get us all hyped up about the magical mystical realm, but in ways that are mysterious and all the more beautiful because he has hidden these things from those who do not value them enough to pursue them. He is very wise that way, and if you just look beneath the surface, you will see the incredible workings of a God who is so full of love for you that has spent every moment of your life (and even before that) acting on your behalf, setting up opportunities and wondrous surprises to mature you into your best self, communicating to you in every spiritual and sensory way possible, and not letting you out of his sight or mind for a moment.
This is the sun rising over Lac Macdonald near Harrington, Quebec.