And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live.”
Deuteronomy 5 v. 24
August is upon us, and I imagine cooler breezes on my face. Although one of the warmest of the year, this month is one I ecstatically welcome. In just a few weeks, my gardens begin the processes of preparation for the long sleep ahead. Yes, the grand finale of summer’s end shall soon begin. I’ll miss the many colors of this season displayed from the morning view outside my bedroom window. But as Bob Dylan says in his iconic song, Lay Lady, Lay, “Whatever colors you have in your mind, I show them to you, and you see them shine!”.
Okay, so I know some of you may be thinking, “Now why is Charlotte quoting Bob Dylan?” Here’s why— I am a Christian who appreciates good music! And within a great song, I see God’s brilliance shine through others no matter their circumstances and beliefs. Lay, Lady, Lay is one song I listen to on long drives. I listen to it not so much for the lyrics but for its generous simplicity and the remembrance it provides of innocent times of the past. I listen as I think of the love that began with this song. I listen because older friends married for over 50 years still sing this song to each other. Friends who worked in coal mines and those who picked up people’s garbage! There are no sexual connotations within this song. But instead, Dylan’s appreciation of the beauty of his love!
God’s love and His beauty are constant. The color of the garden remains even when autumn leaves carpet everything. When balls of heavy snow cake into the coat of my pets. When my nose becomes so cold from breezes that carry minute slivers of ice. And when snow covers the bones of the Colorado mountains. Yes, the colors linger in my mind as a tribute and living hope of God’s consistent splendor.
C.S. Spurgeon stated, “God’s great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of Himself.” Then Spurgeon asked, “But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are?”
Answering this question, Spurgeon briefly stated— “He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God.”
When “stuff” hits the fan, the spiritual significance of tribulations some cannot fathom. I occasionally experience this in myself. I see it in folks I know and in family members. And in strangers alike. But life can be a bed of roses, thorns, and all, if we are willing to slowly breathe in the sweet smell our blood cells permit. To honor God’s intentions for our lives, we must hold on to His leadings.
In the 23rd Psalm of David, with no special occasion in mind, he illuminates God’s leading and our Father’s unswerving reach for us to rest on Him continuously. A psalm I was forced to learn as a child, I repeated the words then, having no significant meaning. I knew I had to learn it so I wouldn’t get into trouble. Isn’t this like some of what we experience today in Christianity? We do things and follow leads that make no sense, but we do them anyway. Why, because it’s easier to do so! Taking time to investigate, ask questions, ponder, search for intellectual meaning, or walk away from confusion— takes too much time. So, we kick the foam flowing at our feet, and when the river flows toward us again, we kick the foam more, expecting something different!
Now that I am an adult, at this unhurried time of my life, I set out to catch every meaning of God’s words in every changing season. The moments I lack the system of will, I grasp still at His excellent guide. On cold autumn evenings, the colors in my mind melt with the warmth of the six o’clock moon, which shines through the bedroom window. Saying— it is going to be a frosty night, as it was a cold night before. And, with God’s will and glory, I’ll live to see a chilly night when one comes around again.
This August rolls in with its common themes, and I look forward to the many reveals located in God’s words. Some reveals sitting in my heart, right there from my childhood. Others coming in through way of rough paths. And those now coming up when I must push at trials with all my might. But then there are those shown to me at the first sip of warm tea while spending time with a friend, or even on an early morning stroll. Indeed, more specific teachings are ahead. Let’s hang on 🙂
We grow together, inside, and out.
Spurgeon, C.H. (1869 original work, 2018). Morning and evening. The classic daily devotional. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing
All Bible verse used in this reflection is from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishers.