Friday, October 30, 2009

Hidden Beauty

A complete, colorful double rainbow stretched across the deep blue ocean and over the dark islands in the distance. The white sandy beach next to the lush, deep green of the grass stood in breath-taking contrast. The aftermath of the near typhoon moved the leaves of the palm trees and they swished in the breeze. The small boat speeding over the vast waters of the ocean under the bow of the rainbow completed the scene and I stood in silent awe. It was a painting airbrushed across the sky to perfection as only God can do. This was Chuuk, Micronesia, a group of islands in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Ocean. This was Weno, the main island of the islands. Even more beautiful than the scenery was something else, something easily overlooked, and something easily missed.

I had the honor of going to one of the outer islands, Parem, for five days. It was a beautiful, very primitive, tropical island. One night, I stood at the shore of the clear waters of the ocean as the sun began to set behind the distant islands. The sky and the clouds were at first a soft, fluffy pink. The sky then turned full of vibrant reds and oranges, as if the distant islands were ablaze with a dangerous fire. Then, as if it only wanted to intimidate and show off its glory for a brief time, the sky then turned soft once again as the last ray of sunlight flashed itself behind the islands in the distance. It was a gorgeous sight, unlike any other.
Early one morning, I awoke to the most beautiful sunrise I have ever witnessed. I walked onto the white balcony overlooking the small town of the main island. The ocean was right beyond the palm trees that stood aright in the still morning air. The sun shone right through these palm trees, highlighting them and painting a beautiful scene. I could only stand in awe and with a smile say, “Thank You, God.” It was a portrait painted for me by my Savior and I could not help but stand in awe.

Beyond the beautiful, breath-taking scenery of these islands is something even more beautiful. It is something that simple passersby will never see and something that many people do not take the time to notice. It is the people who live there. I still remember the faces of many of them vividly. I can see them even more vividly than I can see the colorful rainbow or the bright sunrise or the vibrant sunset. The dark, beautiful complexions of these islanders only highlight the true beauty of their hearts. I came back to America feeling as though I live in a poor nation who has turned all of its blessings of wealth and prosperity into a curse of dread and depression. The joy reverberating from the hearts of these people surpassed all of their dirty, poverty-stricken homes and towns.

I went to these islands with the intention of helping the children learn basic English and to teach them of the love that Jesus has for each and every one of them. And while I did help out with that, it seems the situation got completely turned around. On those beautiful, primitive, tropical islands I got taught some very important lessons by small island children. Walking hand-in-hand through the mountains of the island with a little girl, I was taught how to love. Playing with the children on the beach of the outer island, I was taught how to laugh genuinely and straight from the heart. Throwing a Frisbee with a little girl, time passing away, I was taught how to live and to enjoy life. Yes, I am sure that there is nothing more beautiful about these tropical Pacific islands than the people who live there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Love Notes from God

So I was listening to the radio today and the speaker on was talking about what a letter from Jesus might sound like. I loved what he was saying and decided that I would write my own. Before I write this, I just want to say that I am in no way trying to put words in God's mouth. I would never want to do that to my Holy God. It is just something that I was thinking about and wanted to share.

Note: "Agape" is a Greek word for "love" meaning "self-sacrificing". It is a self-sacrificial love.

Dear Child,

I love you. I saw you walking with your friends today. You were laughing as if you had no care in the world. When will you let Me join you? I miss you. I wanted to let you know how much I love you, so I sent you a sunset last night. It was beautiful. It had the most vibrant reds and oranges in it. You didn't notice it, though. You seemed to be busy with your studies and with everything else going on last night. I wish that you would "make a date" with Me, though, like you do with your friends. I just want to spend time with you.

I tried again this morning to show you how much I love you by sending you a beautiful sunrise. I sent it as a reminder of My promise in Lamentations 3:22-23 that My mercies are new every morning and that they will not fail... But you woke up too late to see it and rushed off to school and work and play. When will you see Me?

I sent you a beautiful blue sky today, but you didn't take much time to look up to even see it. And when you did, you never did notice it. I also sent you rain today to water your land. You didn't think of it that way and instead complained about it. The beautiful rainbow that I painted in the sky after the rain you did not even see because you had been complaining about the rain. It was even full of your favorite colors, sketched to perfection as only I can do. And I did it for you... because I love you.

There you go... where are you going, Child? I miss you. Please draw near to Me for I desperately long to draw near to you (James 4:8). Do you never hear Me in the quiet whisper of the wind that is blowing past your face? Do you never see Me in the morning sunshine? Do you not ever taste and see that I am good (Psalm 34:8)?

Or are you looking for something more? Was not My quiet birth in the animal stable or My death on the cross not enough for you? I gave you all that I have. Why will you not give yourself back to Me? I want what is best for you and I would love more than anything for you to free yourself of everything else so that I can give you what I have for you.

I know that there are many people in the world who have hurt you with false promises. My promises stand and have stood always and will stand forever. I am faithful (Hebrews 10:23) and I love you with a love that no person has ever shown you or has the capacity to show you. I want to show you that love. When will you notice it?

And when will you stop calling me "the Lord" and "the Savior" and start genuinely calling me "my Lord" and "my Savior"? I long to hear it from your heart.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Please come to Me, Child. I long to give you the rest that you desperately desire and need. Give Me all your burdens. Yes, just lay them down at the foot of My Cross, where they belong.

Agape Love,