O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence— as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.
short advent prayers
He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” Then the wind ceased and there was a dead calm.
BY SHANNON GIBSON
This past September, I was fortunate to travel with an incredible group from Wilshire to Maua, Kenya, on a mission trip. At the end of the week, we had the privilege of going on safari in Samburu. It was the perfect bookend to the trip that allowed us to process the week’s events and marvel in the majesty of our God’s creation.
The animals we saw were spectacular, and the African scenery was nothing less than awe-inspiring. Our first night there, we experienced a magnificent sunset along the Ewaso Ng’iro River. This muddy river took on the golden-yellow color of the setting sun as acacia trees and mountains were silhouetted in the background.
In that moment, the thought that kept resonating within me was: “God is so much bigger than I allow God to be in my everyday life.” It stung my heart a little that back in the States I allowed my routines, problems and stresses to make me forget that my God is the Creator of all I was witnessing. Even when I wasn’t present in this place, it still exists, and God’s work is still on display. I was resolved to return home and allow God to be just as big in my everyday life as in this moment.
Fast forward to one month after returning home. Routines, problems and stresses had nearly drowned out whatever God-encounter I had had just a few weeks ago. Instead of staring at an amazing sunset in an exotic land, I was staring at a never-ending to-do list, piles of laundry and dirty dishes. I sat down, haggard and tired, to play with my daughter. While sitting in the floor watching her, I remembered the sunset. I remembered how infinite God is, not just in that moment, but even in this moment and in my everyday life. My life had gone back to its usual hustle, but God’s character had not changed.
Unfortunately, not every day is Christmas, and we don’t always get to experience the vast grandeur of God on safari in Africa. Sometimes, God seems distant. Sometimes, God seems quiet. At times, it can even feel as though God has hidden God’s face from us. Sometimes, we must wait for God. In those hard seasons, it’s easy to choose despair or dwell on our problems. Instead, in those moments, remember God’s past faithfulness. Remember how God has restored what was broken. Remember the times of deliverance and provision. Remember God’s unchanging character. And trust God to be faithful again, because it is true to who God is, despite our circumstances.
Our God is so much bigger than we allow in our everyday lives.
MEDITATE: Meditate today on the grandeur of God. Think of the times you have known the vastness of God and tuck away those reminders for the days when it seems God cannot be found.
PRAY: Pray for the peace of Christ to be found in your spirit amid the storms of life. Hear anew the words of the Savior, “Peace, be still.”