Hear the Sustain

2Sam. 22:37 You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip;

Hiking on the Appalachian trail over a decade ago my foot slipped. I knew something had gone terribly wrong in my body. I felt intense pain. My ankle had broken. The Appalachian Trail is a 2160-mile footpath that extends from New England on the Canadian border all the way to Georgia in the deep South. All that was needed on this trail was a little slip of concentration and a little lack of attention to detail and your foot would slip. We forget the wonder of Providence – that beautiful doctrine that God is constantly sustaining His universe. He is not a blind watchmaker who has stepped away from his worktable.

How would you define a miracle?  Some would define it as “a direct intervention of God in the world.” This definition is unhelpful as it implies that God only intervenes every now and then.

A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to himself.

This Lent hear the sustain in this mighty chorus of God’s providence. Recover the Wonder. Creation vibrates with awe of the Creator.

On Good Friday Jesus slipped from consciousness. That same moment we slipped from darkness into light. Jesus’ self-sacrifice assures our wonder and awe.

Days of Awe

Gen. 2:7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Shmuel Agnon, the nobel literature prize winner, was once asked if Judaism ever had anything like Lent. Did Judaism ever practice 40 days of fasting?No that didn’t happen. But something amazing and awe inspiring happens from New Year (Rosh Hashanah) to the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Ten days of awe. After a pause and think he replied, “Yes, the Days of Awe.”

In many churches the Lenten season will begin with the minister speaking those ancient words, “Remember we are dust and to dust we shall return.” Lent reminds us of our mortality. More importantly Lent restores in us a sense of awe and wonder.

When God made humanity, he took lifeless, cosmic dust and breathed life into us. We became living souls. When we turned our back on Him, we chose entropy and dust. God would not leave us to death, but rather became one of us, even death and at that death on a cross. It is in Lent that we remember that God who gives life gave up his life that we would never ever have to return to the dust from where we came.

May these Lenten days be Days of Awe…