Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beautiful Things

First of all, you should know this blog post was originally titled "Two Beautiful Things."  Once I got started, however, I came to the inevitable reality that I was not going to be able to share only two.  

This picture was taken in the bathroom of the hotel room where the 5 of us spent Christmas Eve.  (We thankfully had just gotten to Skype with Lindsey from Asia. Can't wait to spend next Christmas with her!)

Over my Christmas break I got to show my family and my mom's sister's family beautiful downtown Chicago.

(My brothers got to see Moody for the first time.  I was probably, ok definitely, more excited than they were, but I showed them nonetheless.)

Then we all hoped on the 66 bus and went to Navy Pier. (Again, missing Lindsey.  And Nathan, too)

We got to enjoy a beautiful Swedish Christmas meal that Grandma Phyllis made for us as well as delicious Christmas meals by Aunt Carolyn and Aunt Kathy.

Everything about Passion 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia, with life long friend Carly, roommate Lauren, and dear college friend Allie (May) was beautiful.  

Right before my Christmas break ended I got to enjoy a couple more days at home with my family.  Lindsey and I have got the best brothers evah. 

The beautiful city I flew back to.  Chicago.  Home for another semester.  (Confession:  In order to get this picture I had to rebelliously keep my phone on after the flight attendant had asked us to turn off all portable electronic devices.  Oops. #worthit)

I love being at Moody again.  I love my new classes.  I love the new way our dorm room is arranged.  I love my new friends.  But one of my favorite things about this semester is having Carly back from Italy and living on 10 West again.  When we were little and attending summer camps together (or making our own camp) Carly and I always would dream of going to college together one day. According to God's faithfulness and kind heart, that dream is now a reality.  I look forward to all the blessings that sharing college life with Carly and all the other amazing women on the 10th floor of Houghton Hall will bring. 

Ok, so those were some beautiful things about my Christmas break.  Now for the "Two Beautiful Things" I created this post to write about.   First, on January 12 we finally got some real snow.  Lauren, Kari, and I celebrated the first snow with our first coffee drinks from Joe's and then headed to New Testament together.  I am so thrilled that snow has truly arrived and look forward to so much more!   

And last, but certainly not least, I want to try to give voice to some thoughts that I have been excited about since September.  While reading through Genesis for my Survey of the Old Testament class, chapter 16 caught my attention.  In this story Sarai, unable to bear a son for Abram, gave her slave named Hagar to him in order that Hagar might bear a son in her stead.  When Hagar became pregnant, Sarai was upset and mistreated her.  Due to her maltreatment, Hagar ran away into the wilderness.  We are told, starting in verse 7, that the "Angel of the Lord" came to Hagar in her loneliness and distress and told her to go back to her mistress.  He promised Hagar that her offspring would greatly increase in number and be too numerous to count.  He told her that she was to name her son Ishmael and that he would live at odds with all of his brothers.

Hagar's response to this encounter with the "Angel of the Lord" is beautiful:

Genesis 16:13-14 (HSCB)

"So [Hagar] named the LORD who spoke to her:  
The God Who Sees, for she said, 
"Have I really seen here the One who sees me?"  
That is why she named the spring, 
"A Well of the Living One Who Sees Me." 
It is located between Kadesh and Bered."  

Because Hagar says that she saw "The God Who Sees" after encountering the "Angel of the Lord", it is believed by many theologians, including one of my professors from last semester, that the "Angel of the Lord" is the pre-incarnate Christ (Jesus before He took on flesh).

Regardless of whether the "Angel of the Lord" is referring to Jesus or an angel sent by God, Hagar's response is breathtaking.  To get caught up in the theology of exactly who it was that she saw would be such a loss because we would risk missing what this story means for us.  Hagar's heart was overwhelmed because she had seen the One who sees her.  She was so moved that she named the place she was "A Well of the Living One Who Sees Me."  As children of the same, unchanging God we have that same joy.  Unfortunately, we like the Israelites, often remain unaware of the truth that Yahweh does indeed see us.

Isaiah 40:27-28 (HCSB)

"Jacob, why do you say,
and Israel, why do you assert:
'My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my claim is ignored by my God'?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
there is no limit to His understanding."

Yahweh is the everlasting One.  The One who sees me.  The One who sees you.  Do not loose heart,  for He sees you whether you are weeping in the wilderness or rejoicing in the harvest.  The Living One sees you, He understands you.  He is not ignoring you.  Your way is not hidden from Him.  Press on and lift your eyes to Him with an awareness that as you do your gaze will meet His, for He was already looking toward you.  

No comments:

Post a Comment