Beauty in the Morning

awake my soul

I live at the bottom of a mountain. Several days a week, I jump on the interstate and drive up that mountain to the town where my church–and much of my life–resides. In spring, wisteria drapes the hillsides. In fall, brilliant colors cloak the vista. Some nights, I chase the full moon down the mountain as it rises in the east and dominates the horizon landscape.

This morning, heading west, the sun shone from behind and slapped morning light against the hillside as I snaked up. I tried to engage my four-year-old in a moment of worship, “Isn’t this a beautiful morning the Lord has made?” I met his eyes in the rear-view mirror. He didn’t seem impressed.

But I was more than impressed. I was awakened. The way the light split the scattered clouds and drew silk lines along their edges–it was glorious. Just five minutes before, my daughter had asked, “What’s God’s glory?” With only one minute to answer before she hopped from the car for school, I took an out, “It’s hard to explain. Let’s talk about it this afternoon.”

Then I drove up the mountain and came face to face with glory. Praise awakened. The silly things of life that can drive me crazy–even the larger yearnings that nag–settled on the bottom of my heart like sediment on a river floor. I drank in the crystal-clear water of God’s beauty. What were the frustrations of life compared to this heavy goodness pressing in on my heart?

That’s God’s glory. Heavy goodness that’s so real it makes everything else seem trivial. Even the serious things of life which God cares about and doesn’t want us to brush over and pretend don’t bother us. Still, nothing compares to his glory.

be exalted

As we crested the mountain and the cross of a conference center came into view, a voice from the backseat asked, “Is that heaven?”

“What?” Had I heard right?

“Is that cross heaven?”

I smiled. “No, that’s Ridgecrest.”

But maybe this glory within is the promise of heaven. The deposit of the Holy Spirit guaranteeing what is to come. A slice of eternity right now.