7:16 am (Eastern Time).
I’d been awake for 17 hours, eyes falling shut as I hurried home on the cracked sidewalks, stopping only for traffic lights and the occasional garbage truck on it’s morning route.
The cool morning mist surrounded me, a sort of ethereal fog blanketing the quiet streets, muffling the sounds of the traffic, the crispness of the morning making itself known as my breath formed a frozen cloud in front of me.
Passing by several blocks of brick-framed houses and doors with chipped paint, navigating puddles and hearing the occasional crunch of some leftover snow beneath my feet, I crossed the second-last street before home, entering the park, knowing my destination was close.
And all of a sudden, as I entered that park, my awareness of my surroundings began to shift.
The cool air, the mist, the hazy fog remained.
But suddenly these were joined by a canopy of empty branches, tall trees reaching for the sky, housing birds that sang and chirped and crowed, filling my ears with their morning chorus.
My feet, before hurried and occasionally stumbling, began to slow.
My eyes, before drooping and fatigued, began to open.
My heart, before tired and worn out, began to lift.
I stopped on the sidewalk, taking it all in.
And as that glorious chorus of bird song filled my ears, and the fog wrapped around me like a comforting blanket, I smiled.
The morning was here. He was here.
The song that had been in my head all week ran through again; pieces of lyrics and truth swirling in my brain;
…And when I cannot stand, I’ll fall on You…
I stood in wonder, amazed at the beauty of the morning and it’s Creator.
And as I pondered, I thought of those times when I’d experienced similar feelings, been in similar awe of the beauty of our world, laid before me like a glorious canvas.
That time in Cambodia, at the top of the highest mountain, surrounded by green grass and fog and massive rock, and tips of mountains peeking through in between.
That time in Hawaii, at the edge of the ocean looking out across the vast horizon of water and sky, surrounded by glorious colour and cloud and the beauty of a sunset like I’d never seen before.
Those times in the Beatton Valley, close to home, seated on the tip of one of my favourite hilly ridges, surrounded by the sound of the rushing river and the wind filling my ears, looking out at the vivid green trees and hills, contrasting against the stark blue sky or the starry night or the rippling clouds or the fading sunset. I’d been there so many times, and each felt just as new and just as beautiful.
That time in Tumbler Ridge, as we crested the tip of a ridge deep in the alpine, and were greeted with blue-hazed mountains and valleys and lakes, endless vistas stretching to the edges of the horizon in all directions, so still you could hear yourself breathe.
That time in northern Alberta where on a drive home we were brought to a stop by the sight of the black skies suddenly breaking out with dancing green aurora, flitting across the sky like ballerinas across a stage, oscillating and curving and stretching and lighting up the sky in a light show unmatched by any created by man.
The list goes on and on.
Cambodia. Hawaii. The Beatton Valley. Tumbler Ridge. Northern Alberta.
and now Ontario.
I was reminded, not for the first time, that
whether I sit or stand,
whether I rise or fall,
if I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there His hand will guide me.
even there His strength will support me.
He is with me.
Through all my life, through all my travels, in all the places I call home.
He is faithful.
Through all the ups and downs, through all the uncertainties, in all my doubts and fears.
He is good.
For though weeping may last through the night, joy comes in the morning.
He makes all things work together for my good.
Through all the long nights and joys and tears and adventures and deep breaths and new steps.
He knows me. He is right there with me.
He goes before me and behind me, hemming me in on all sides.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
And just like David’s response after God had brought him across miles and years of journey, and so clearly revealed His love to him day after day, making and fulfilling promises all along the way,
I remain amazed.
Who am I, Sovereign Lord, that you have brought me this far?
What more can I say?
For you know your servant, Sovereign Lord. For the sake of your word and according to Your will, You have done such great things and made them known to Your servant.
How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears…
No matter where I go,
No matter what I do,
I am so thankful.
For He is with me.
And He is faithful.
And He is good.
And He makes all things work together for my good.
Oh, how I need Him.
And I am so thankful that He reaches down to me.
I love the Lord, for He hears my voice.
Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
And I have no doubts that this is not the last time I will stand amazed in His presence.
For He is good, and His love endures forever.
I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who You are
I see You there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now You are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
I see Your face, I see Your face
I see Your face, You’re beautiful
References: 2 Samuel 7, Psalm 30:5, Psalm 116:1-2, Psalm 139
and “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher