There are times when I suddenly find myself in a powerful moment of complete awe for what God has done, and is doing, in my life. These awesome ponderings can be quite big and profound, but sometimes they are much more quiet and intimate. Whereas the former reflect on how God has kept me close under His wing, the latter are times when I feel Him drawing me closer still.
If I have my phone on me, after I’ve given time to take it in, I’ll usually take a photo of the thing or place that prompted such a moment of worship. One of these photos is my screensaver. To others, it’s a messy desk, with books and papers strewn across it. But to me, it’s a reminder of a very dear revelation I had just after starting my course at theological college. This photo of the sunset captures another of these times.
Recently, after a particularly disappointing Sunday morning, I found myself facing some doubts and questions all too familiar to myself and seminary students across the world.
In God’s grace, as I opened my Bible and submitted my thoughts to Him, I was reassured about His timing and purpose; that it is God who brought me here, and He will finish the work He has started in my life. So I grabbed a cup of coffee and my laptop, and sat out on the balcony and watched the sun melt away with the day, its rays of golden light pouring over the grass and trees, as I typed out my thoughts and convictions.
And in a moment, as I looked up over my laptop at the setting sun, tranquility seemed to settle over the world around me, and in my heart. The road below grew quiet, and everything felt to be, just for a moment, completely at peace. As I admired what lay before me through the steam of my coffee, I felt the whisper of the Father’s voice in my heart.
Since I was about 15 years old, the picture of my ideal life was an early retirement to a cosy cabin by the mountainside, surrounded by nature, spending my days writing stories and about my thoughts on God and church, and drinking coffee out on the veranda as the sun sets.
Living on the edge of the city whilst studying is a far cry from my quiet mountainside cabin. It’s often taken a toll on me; and being in training for the work that you want to eventually accomplish always holds its frustrations. But in this wonderful sunset with the Father, He revealed to me once more the greatness of His kindness and love. That by His great provision and guidance (I really could not have accomplished this myself), He has created a place for me where I can live and study in a community of Christ-centered people, to prepare and train for the Kingdom work He has set me apart for. But also a place where I can watch the sun slip behind the gum trees with a brilliant display of orange and gold filtering through the sky. Where I can marvel at the mist hovering over the grass, and snuggle into a blanket in the crisp evening air. A place where I can wake up each morning to the sound of birdsong, and smell the trees and bushes, and the damp earth as I sit in the College gardens.
I may never get that mountainside cabin. But at least for this period of time, my Heavenly Father has blessed me so beautifully with a place to spend my days reading about Him and His church, drinking coffee on my balcony while watching the sun go down, and writing little pieces of my thoughts every here and there.
This photo is probably more aesthetically pleasing to others than a student’s messy desk. But more important than its beauty is the beautiful message from God that it captures: I know the desires of your heart, and I love you.
But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.