Every Bit of Growth
About six months ago, I hurt my arm. I was training jiu-jitsu and because of a mistake I made, a full grown man fell with all of his weight on my right arm. I tried to play the tough guy, but you can't be tough when you turn white and nauseous. It was a serious injury, and it turns out it was to a nerve.
I have trained through the injury until the other day, when I could barely lift my arm to my head. I am going to have to take some time off of training. I hate sitting out. I really do. But I know something without a shred of doubt:
God is doing something here.
I am forced to sit still now. I am forced to wait on God to heal me. And that's what this post is about, the intricate nature of God's interaction with us and the world around us.
Healing From God
For a while I couldn't wash my hair with both hands, but now with several days off, I can reach my head. I understand there is a medical explanation that has something to do with inflammation or something like that. But that is merely describing what God is doing.
How often are we sick, and then we get well without gratitude toward God?
How often do we heal, yet forget to be in awe of the one who heals us?
Our world's default mode is chaos, but God holds it all together. And our default mode is death and decay, yet God heals us. We should exult in his provision when that happens - even just a little.
Waking Up to God's Movement
If you start to look around, you will see God's fingerprints everywhere. Every bit of growth - every blade of grass, every hair in your beard, the feather on a Cardinal - all of it is caused by God. All if it is a sign he is here with us, and he is having his glorious way with our world.
Imagine the glory we've missed. What would happen if we started to notice the blades of grass and considered their growth as brush strokes of the Lord?
We'd see God's glory everywhere.
If we were alive to God's movement in the world around us (and hence his glory), what we would discover is what John Piper calls Christian Hedonism. I believe Piper's observation could be the most important theological breakthrough that I am aware of. Christian Hedonism can be summarized by this statement:
"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him."
When we are pleased with God's goodness, when we drink in the favor of the Lord and savor his grace, God is glorified. And in so doing, we are made deeply happy. And thus, we return to glorifying God. It is a cycle of joyful beauty that will go on for eternity. Delight in God, glory to God, delight in God. God gets his due honor and fame and we get what we long for: joy.
Take a look around you today. At your hand and the skin which regenerates and clothes your bones. Notice the plants around you and the incremental growth. All of this growth - all of his life - is from the Life-Giver himself. He made it all, in Christ he redeems it all, and he is going to make all things new.