Every encounter with God is in a way a glimpse of heaven itself. Each time we feel God close we are blessed with a sacrament – a “sacred moment” when all at once there is nothing between who we are and who God is. It’s a moment of deep awareness of ourselves and a deeper understanding into the glory of God.
Sometimes the presence of God has taken me by surprise especially when he creeps up on me when I’m least expecting it. One place this happened was on Main Street USA; Magic Kingdom, Florida. Why there? On a cold February day, surrounded by all of Walt Disney’s fantasy and extravagance, at the big build up for the afternoon big parade? Maybe because it was like a dream come true, something I had never thought we could afford, but thank to a major Building Society share offer we were able to cash in and fly away. Maybe to see the delight on my children’s faces as we caught the first glimpse of the famous familiar Disney characters that they know and love so well, the joy in their eyes, the anticipation as we waited together. Maybe it was the music that was playing, the fanfare to herald the parade approaching.
It’s hard to say what happened there as I stood and felt so blessed and happy to be sharing the moment together with my family. It is true Disney know how to manipulate the magic, with music, colour, fireworks and beauty; but what I felt seemed deeper than all that. This was more of a deep satisfaction and happiness that in that moment it was great to be alive, and the true giver or the magic of life was none other than God himself, who really did made that moment a reality for those I loved. And so right there, whilst stood on Main Street USA, I encountered a sacred moment and thanked God for his goodness and his love.
The writer to the Romans says that “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. I am not sure I have always found this to be true. Really Father? “All things?” Surely the verse would be better it is read “most things” or even “some things”; I think my personal translation of this verse would read “And we know that occasionally things work together for good!” But “ALL THINGS”, it hasn’t always seemed like that.
On Main Street USA “All things” seemed to collide together to make that moment good, but if I’m honest today hasn’t had the same feeling, and yesterday was even worse than today. There are too many times when I seem to completely lose sight of the fact that God is in anyway working things out at all, never mind bringing it all together for good. Times in my life and ministry when people talk of suffering, pain, loss, heartache and I wouldn’t dream of saying something as trite as it’s all part of Gods amazing plan for you, because simply to listen and sit with them in the pain where there are no easy solutions is the very best I can offer.
Yet I am reminded today that in all things God is working things out, not just on the days when that’s is as clear as the approaching Disney parade, but also on days when nothing seems to fit or make sense, even in those days God is waiting to share with us sacred moments of his great love and deep joy. Bring it on Lord!
Thank You Father that you area God of surprises, that with you all of life is a sacrament and you are always at work just behind the scenes, caring for us.
Jesus – during this Lenten season – remind me again even when there is no fanfare, no fireworks, no familiar faces to make us smile, no great anticipation – still you are working on the magic for us.
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!