Wednesday, July 19, 2017

...on earth, as it is in Heaven...

God chose to enter the world through a baby.

Imagine it ... He created a miniature image-bearer of Himself, made it completely helpless, sent it into the world by means of pain, and packaged hope in that tiny, wordless messenger. The animals in a manger-cave were witnesses to the birth of baby Jesus. He did not choose a mountain top or mansion or palace or synagogue. He chose the humblest place to deliver His greatest gift.
And God chose to come to us through a baby.

…....and He keeps doing it.

I watched her face most of all. I knew her face would tell me everything.
We had entered into that realm where words would be lacking, when so much more would be said in silence.

My eyes were riveted on her face. I looked at little else.
My daughter was becoming a mother. Her own beautiful childhood danced about inside my heart as I watched her become a mother.
My ears could not hear the words being spoken, they sounded like Charlie Brown's school-teacher --- waa, whaa, waaa, whaaa, wa... Buzzers, monitors, voices, instructions and the sound of Maggie breathing as she worked – somehow my ears could not decipher all the input.
But her face. As long as I could see her face. I knew i'd see it all clearly if I could just keep her face in my sights. Her face would show the bare-truth of each moment. Prayers gushed upward as I watched her face. It was beautiful.
And it happened.
Her face went from intense work --- to the most peaceful glow. Her mouth went from a straight line of focus --- to the gentlest, peaceful smile imaginable. And her eyes --- they went from closed to opened in wonder. I heard nothing, I saw his arrival in her face. And the next movement that came --- her arms. They reached for him. It was her first reach of many --- she'll reach for him with a mother's love for the rest of her days. Her face showed he had finally arrived ---- her arms reacted immediately. And Heaven-filled-the-room.... “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done----on earth as it is in Heaven....”
Jesus spoke those words.
We should have our eyes focused for those moments when the Kingdom delivers and His will is done right in front of our eyes --- here on earth. We miss so much when our eyes are off-focus.
It's those fleeting moments when we'll see “on earth as it is in Heaven” --- when earthbound feet are released from clay for brief, beautiful moments, and we rise above it all to see His more for us. So like our great God to choose the glimpse of His Kingdom coming in the quiet arrival of His freshest creation.

It's not an exaggeration at all. Truly. When a baby arrives ---- a tiny spec of His Kingdom has come.
We can choose to see it, or not. We can choose to ignore it, or not.
Oh but I, I chose to sit in awe as I watched God work a miracle in front of my eyes as our daughter grabbed hold of His great robes and worked hand in hand with Him.
It was a holy moment.
Holy moments have been missed since the Garden of Eden was closed.
But, they are still happening ---- and most often they happen outside the walls of Sunday's meeting places.
Holiness ---- it came in an animal stable. Nothing was neat and proper about the setting. The setting is not the focus. The arrival hall of Heaven's gifts are rarely polished, perfect places. For our great God brings His Holiness right into the middle of our imperfection ---- and it's all about seeing that HIS KINGDOM HAS COME (it has nothing to do with the setting or decorations or lack there of).
It rolled through my heart and mind in slow motion even during those swift seconds of “on earth as it is in Heaven”
---- all while I watched her face.

Maggie is a beautiful person, through and through. If you know her, you know it's true. If you don't know her, well, hopefully someday you will.
She's a jewel. Ray, her husband knows it well. And he's a solid rock treasure as well.
And while Maggie is not a vain, self-consumed person who focuses on how she “looks”, she is someone who takes care of of herself and works to be her best in all she does.

In the moments when God grabbed hold of her hand and whispered to her soul, “let's work together here daughter, I've got a little Heaven-kissed gift I'd like to share..”, when her great work began, the work of labor and delivery, she was not focused on her ability or perfection or even worthiness of the gift. Her heart, mind, and soul were focused on the Giver and His gift.
Her everything was focused... in such right ways.
She was watching for ---- “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done---on earth, as it is in Heaven.”.
Her labor was working to bring a baby into the world ----- but it was also working to bring a bit of Heaven to a needy earth.

And oh what we can learn from that whispered lesson delivered in the delivery room.

It (life, living, performance, ability).... it is not about us and who we are or what we've done or what we didn't do ----- it's just simply not about us friends.
Our eyes will serve us best if we'll take them off all the stuff that bogs us down in the middle of all that is so unholy........... and instead, raise our eyes up, setting them on the One who delivers Heaven to earth in the silent package of a helpless babe and says to those who will hear Him, “I'll bring the holy part, you take my hand. I'll bring Heaven to earth, you just work with me. I'll work the miracle, you just breathe...”
He arrives and brings heaven's greatness with Him ----- no matter where we are. If we'll let go and let Him.

No matter what we bring ---- His holiness changes us.
We waste too much precious time trying to look or be or act or impress.
When it's all about His will being done on earth as it is in Heaven --- that's where beautiful everythings will burst onto the scene and we'll have those moments of standing in the flow of the river of real-life --- and we'll know we're there when what just happened in front of us or to us or in us came from God --- because we know, we-----could------not-------have--------done--------it.
Further still we know, I -------did-------not--------do--------it.
We're the first to know, God ---- did------this!

Heaven touches earth in front of us when the silent miracle appears and we know --- God did that.
I didn't do it.
No person did it.
No one could have brought that about (although some will try and take credit for it).
But I know --- deep inside, in the deepest places of my soul ---- I know only God could have done that.
That's it friend --- that's when we are standing on Holy Ground because Heaven has just touched down.

And it doesn't come in neat, polished packages.
But if our eyes have been re-focused rightly ---- we see the perfect arrival of Heaven-moments.
Our God is so flawlessly good ---- He is brave enough to share His holiness with us.
And we wonder at the flow of it.

He breathes His perfection into a speechless, wet, tiny messenger that can't walk or talk and has no seeable-skill at all, and He watches to see, will anyone notice my presence and holiness if I package it this way? Awww, our Abba wants us to see Him in the silent, still, small things. His greatness is packaged in them. And the more we stop and see Him, the less we'll care about the big, loud, flashy things, and the greater His chances are to transform us more and more into another of His still, small whispers into a loud, hard world.
Babies show it to us in their arrival.
They are messy, have nothing, they're naked, they're helpless, they can't speak even one word --- and yet we can't stop looking at them --- because we know, tucked inside that precious soft skin is the very breath of God. We are mesmerized as they deliver Heaven to earth. It takes our breath away.

The silent bundle is a teacher.

We grow up and become speaking, walking producers of something ----- professionals, home-owners, workers, money-makers, opinionated people with “rights” ---- but each accomplishment seems to take us farther away from the wonder of Heaven come to earth.
------ oh good Lord, we have so much to learn.

It's not about us – nothing is actually about us – what we can do or how much we've accomplished. We work to become something important only to realize in the winter of our lives ---- it really never was about us.
It, the whole purpose of life, is all about how much Heaven-goodness we allowed to flow through us into this wounded world.

Heaven comes to earth ---- miracle moments unfold ---- when we lay ourselves down and watch for His arrival. When we choose humility --- and grace --- and “you first” --- and generosity --- and prayer ---- and kindness --- and the holy-thinking of “how can I best accomplish this task so that i'm not seen nearly as much as God's goodness is able to flow through it...”

In the moments after little Gunnar breathed his first earth-air, the doctor laid him up on Maggie's chest. Heaven had come down, a speechless package spoke volumes, the air was holy. I could feel God's nearness as He released His dear Gunnar into the arms of His chosen parents. And then one of the most beautiful things i've ever heard or seen followed on the heals of the most beautiful moment i've ever witnessed.

Ray---- tall, strong, new-daddy Ray, wrapped his long, muscular arms around his wife and baby, and he prayed. Into the same air that Gunnar had just begun breathing, the air His Heavenly Father released him into, his earthly Father talked with his Creator-Father, and thanked Him for the gift of Heaven coming to earth in the little package of this son. Ray committed their hearts and home to care for the gift, and thanked God for His miracle.
… and I wondered how the Father above must have smiled...
... if angels watching shed tears... (as we did)
… if everything shifted in unseen ways because two fathers held hands at the exchange of the miracle.

As Ray prayed, I watched her eyes.
Everything was being said in her eyes.
She's a mother, holding Heaven's-gift, wrapped in arms that call Heaven down around her, she's loved, she loves, they love, Abba loves -------- and Gunnar will grow under their care and God's cover as he becomes what his name declares ---- “warrior”.
Heaven delivered a tiny helpless babe ---- but “on earth as it is in Heaven” he will become one of Heaven's warriors among us.

Only God can do all this ----
my eyes were set on her face, and it was there that I saw Him... again.

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