Like me, you have probably sung the words, “When I in awesome wonder…”, from the song “How Great Thou Art”. These times of awesome wonder are infrequent. I can recall a few: the first time I held my infant children and most recently my grandson, watching a whale dancing on its tail from my camp chair, and standing atop a mountain in Jasper National Park. I hope we have all had these occasions where we sensed the overwhelming majesty and mercy of God.
I got to see this ‘awesome wonder’ from a different vantage point this week. I heard that a young friend of ours had just got his drivers licence and I approached him, at our Drop In, to congratulate him. He was sitting shaking his head, as if in disbelief. “How can this be?” he kept repeating. He went on to tell me that two years ago he was living in a care home. He was expected to live out his life in such institutions. Now, though, he lived on his own! In the past two years he had successfully graduated from a Mechanic’s course at the Community College and now after weeks of Driver’s Training he had again succeeded by getting his drivers’ licence. He was now ready to get a job and move into a new and unexpected future.
He kept answering his own question “It is God. It has to be God!” He was truly amazed at the goodness and mercy of God. His awe made me want to take off my shoes, for it was definitely ‘Holy Ground’. I had experienced my own moments of awe, but it was thrilling in a whole new way to see the wonder in my young friend’s eyes.
He has a powerful testimony and he is not at all shy about sharing it. People may find other reasons for his achievements, and he has worked exceedingly hard, but he knows and gives God the glory!
Lately I have been reading a book about “The Parables of Jesus” and I was struck again by how often Jesus corrects people who are asking the wrong question. He is asked who is my neighbour?, and after the story of The Good Samaritan, he reposes the question “Who was the neighbour to the man?” As I reread the parable, I came back to the thought that I am the neighbour and that I am to be the good neighbour to whoever I encounter. Kindness and mercy are the callings of all who would follow Jesus. If our lives are not marked by these Christlike attributes we are following Him at a distance, at best.