July 20, 2018
The Radiance of His Presence
Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. (Psalm 34:5, NIV).
Friend to Friend
We’d counted down the days for months: a family vacation, at the beach.
After a year of hustle and struggle, we needed a week of slow days filled with little more than food, laughter, play time and rest. A beach vacation promised just that. Even better, our Air Force son planned to return from a deployment overseas in time to join us. After a long year, we’d finally be together again.
It turned out even better than we hoped. Lazy mornings, unrushed days. Children laughing, grown-ups resting. And more good food than we knew what to do with. It was everything we dreamed it to be.
My favorite part, however, was none of those things, although I enjoyed them well enough. My favorite part was somewhere around 6:00 am, when the rest of my family slept and I slipped out of bed and headed outside to sit on the balcony overlooking the ocean. There, snuggled in a baggy sweatshirt and holding a cup of steaming coffee, I watched the sun rise over the water and I worshipped.
Oh God, how I love you!
Very little talking happened during those early morning moments. How do you find the words when faced with such extravagance? Instead, Jesus and I sat together, enjoyed each other, marveled at His creation. This turned out to be the rest my body and soul needed most of all.
But it occurred to me during one of those mornings how often I fail to make time for such communion at home, away from the vacation days. Wrapped up in schedules and to-dos, I jump out of bed and dive right into the day, without so much as a head-nod to the sunrise and the God who created it. Not all the time, but enough to make me wonder why I’d miss it.
Or why anyone else would.
As I sat on the balcony with the sun reflecting off my face, I looked around me at the other occupied beach condos and counted at least 130 other balconies just like mine, most empty. In fact, over the course of an hour, I only counted a scant six people who made time to watch the sun rise. And one of those talked on her phone, her back turned toward the sun.
And I couldn’t help but think how often I am just the same.
Every day, our God shines His light on the whole earth, ready to warm and reflect off those who are turned to him. Unfortunately, too often we miss what’s right in front of us, caught up as we are by the activity and chaos and struggle of each day. Instead of stopping and turning toward the Son, we grab our phones and calendars. Then, when the day is done, we wonder why life seems gray and absent any light.
Ah, but those who look to the Lord are radiant. His light shines, at all hours of the day and night—not just at sunrise and not just on beach vacations. He shines in hospitals and hurting marriages and impossible circumstances. All we need do is turn toward Him, exactly where we are, and allow the warmth of His presence to illuminate our dark.
Dear Father, how I need Your light and life every day! Forgive me for the many times I get wrapped up in my circumstances and fail to pause and soak in Your majesty. Remind me to stop, rest, turn my face toward You, wherever I am. And, by Your mercy and grace, make my face radiant with Your presence.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Each of us have areas of our lives that feel darker than the others. How can you turn your face toward the Son, and invite God’s presence to shine in those hard places?
More from the Girlfriends
A storyteller at heart, Michele Cushatt writes and speaks on the necessity of perseverance, leadership and faith in the hard places. A three-time tongue cancer survivor and mama to children "from hard places," Michele is a (reluctant) expert of pain, trauma and our deep human need for real connection. She lives in Colorado with her husband and their six children, ages 11 to 26. Find out more about Michele at http://www.michelecushatt.com.
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Originally published Friday, 20 July 2018.