Something I do when my heart is overwhelmed is look up at the stars. I tilt back my head and let my hair fall loose, feeling like I did back in the tenth grade while standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon, at sunset. It was June and I was sixteen. Tourists flocked at the edge, their cameras poised. The air was heavy and quiet. Ricocheting off the canyon’s ridges were highlights of crimson and gold and fiery scarlet; hiding in the depths were shadows of plum and indigo and violet— shy and veiled, much like my teenage self. The splendor of the view was unbearable to my adolescent eyes. My hands violently gripped the steel rail at the edge, as my eyes devoured a view so expansive it threatened to engulf me. I looked down and was nauseous: trees were like ants. The valley, cut by ancient waters, wound towards oblivion.
I spend my life trying to recreate that moment, it seems, that moment of awe— my two hands clutched to a steel rail at the lip of the Grand Canyon. It’s a sensation I’ve found in star gazing, in staring oblong at the midnight sky.
God must be an expert orchestrator, that so many of his wonders come to fruition without a hitch and without us noticing the process. He works behind the scenes, it seems, seemingly in the dark. God burns the midnight oil. Tirelessly yet effortlessly His plans come together, giving birth to canyons and stars and life. You could nearly miss the wonder and walk plainly by, preoccupied with lists and visions and goals. But stop, and the complexity and glory of it all will shake you immediately. Because, somehow the rock was carved by water; and somehow, the stars, they burn.
I say this as I reflect upon the past year, with a keener mind and clearer eyes in the remembering. I have realized, with a stark awakening, just how complete God’s faithfulness is. I have also learned, in contrast, just how prone I am to wander.
I don’t know what to say of this year, except that it has been one of the wild ones. My body has been braced in fight or flight mode, mostly towards God but also towards others, this whole year. This whole year, I have either locked my knees in stubbornness or poised myself for take off. My heart has hardened from a year of self reliance, of living like I don’t have God’s promises to fall back upon. My heart has likewise grown faint from a year of running, or threatening to run, at every inconvenience or unfulfilled desire.
But, God is so faithful.
And so, with a heart that rings true of God’s redemptive character, I have chosen to rewrite my 2016 story through a lens of grace. It’s my same story, with all the bumps and bruises and glories, only this time, told from an eternal viewpoint. It’s all the times God’s shoulders brushed mine— I, too preoccupied to notice.