Every morning, without fail, the sun rises. Sometimes I am awake to see it, sometimes I am not. Either way, it happens. First the sky is black and spotted with twinkling stars, then it turns a dusty grey-blue and those same stars fade then disappear entirely. Sometimes I wake when the sky is a delicious pink and violet and it stops me in my tracks. And I exclaim to my four year old, Wow, look how beautiful the sky is today! And we gaze at it for a few moments from the living room window. By the time I am in the kitchen, stirring the oatmeal and emptying the dishwasher from last night’s dinner, the sun is high enough in the sky to be shining through the window above the sink. And, on a good day, when the clouds aren’t blocking the light, it shines right onto my face and I stand still for a while in it’s warmth.
I can’t think of a better metaphor for God. He is there, always, offering light day after day. To only remember this — to rememeber him — as I remember to watch the sunrise. To only turn my heart towards him as often as I turn towards the sun.
Philip Yancey wrote “For me, living in a fallen world, doubt seems more like forgetfulness than disbelief.” And this couldn’t be more true in my own life. Yes my faith is not free of doubt, but mostly what stops me from turning towards God is that I forget.
And I have a feeling it’s not just Philip Yancey and I who are struggling with this sort of soul amnesia. I think many of us are.
We have forgotten our connection to the divine. We keep ourselves so busy, striving for things and achievements, grasping for control. Sometimes I feel like I’ve turned myself into a god, full of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. We’ve made ourselves the masters of our world. I think most days I look at myself — What do I want? How am I doing? Where should I be going? — more than I look at my Maker — What do YOU want for me right now?
“Forget the face of God, and forget your own name is Beloved.” Ann Voskamp wrote that. In forgetting our faith, we have forgotten our identity. That God created us, from a place of perfect love, and with great pleasure. And as a father does, he longs for us. To delight in us and for us to take delight in him.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks the question, “What is the chief end of man?”
What will it take to remember the answer? To glorify God and enjoy him forever.
What will it take to wake up and remember, every day, that God has invited us into this mystery of being because he wanted us to be. To let go of the idea that our lives are completely random and purposeless. It will take conscious effort on our part, because sometimes the clouds hang thick and heavy and the noise of our lives can be deafening.
For me, it becomes a prayer, a cry, a hope.
Wake up my soul! Stop your sleeping. Stop your forgetting. Remember who you are, who created you, and why you are here. Remember the face of God and that he has named you Beloved.
“When we walk in the Lord’s presence, everything we see, hear, touch, or taste reminds us of him. This is what is meant by a prayerful life. It is not a life in which we say many prayers, but a life in which nothing, absolutely nothing, is done, said, or understood independently of him who is the origin and purpose of our existence.”Henri Nouwen