Sunday, July 11, 2010

Even if Creation is Uncreated

Last week, my friend Lyla over at A Different Story suggested her readers spend "7 days in a Psalm."

I don't, I know I've never spent seven days in one chapter before. My pastor has suggested it more times than I can count, but there's just so much ground to cover in the Word, and not really understanding the joys of in-depth Bible study until my late twenties makes me feel like I've wasted too many years for me to just park in eleven verses for an entire week of my ever-shortening life.

Yet, my quiet time these past two weeks of moving into our new home has been sorely lacking. Even my sporadic attempts at Bible study have been constantly interrupted by a barrage of unwelcome, nauseating to-do lists.

So, I decided seven days might be barely enough time for God to congeal my jello-like brain into a coherent Word to feed my hungry, hungry soul.

Last Monday, my Bible fell open to several other books, but I kept turning until it fell open to a page in the Psalms. A formerly pink highlighted verse in Psalm 46 caught my eye. And so I sat down to read, only to laugh aloud that God had directed me to a chapter with the words, "Be still, and know that I am God" (v. 11).

Yes, God let me know He already knew the problem I was having with focus and rest.

Truth be told, I missed one day of reading. But the other days, God directed me to individual verses, select words until today--day 7. Only today did God finally put the pieces together for me into a message of hope and security.

The Psalm speaks of God's creation in destructive turmoil against the backdrop of the unchanging, protective nature of God:

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts." (v. 1-6)

At the sound of God's voice, "the earth melts." Think of the power in that statement.

The God who spoke in Genesis 1 and the earth was created. The God who spoke in a burning bush to Moses, yet it was not consumed. That same God speaks here--and the earth melts. I looked it up, and the word means just what it sounds like--"to dissolve, to melt away."*

One commentary described it this way: "the creation itself may seem to be uncreated."

Here in Louisiana, feeling the ever-increasing effects of the oil spill, it feels like creation, itself, is literally dissolving, melting away...being "uncreated." The wetlands and marshes are being infiltrated with the oil; our state's oyster beds are ruined; much of the wildlife on the coast is sick and dying. Who knows how many species of plants and animals are being "uncreated" as I write this one entry.

But creation's destruction isn't just here in my backyard. An article I read earlier in the year concluded that "More than two animals and plants a year are becoming extinct in England" (my italics).

Look around you, read the news and weather reports--do you sometimes feel as I do, that God is "un-creating" his very creation? Does your mind ever spin out of control in wonder and concern?

There. Is. Hope.

Verses 7 and 11 repeat the same words (and repetition is what this woman needed to finally hear it): "The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

Though the world around us tumbles, though it looks like creation is unraveling at the seams, though it looks like wars and turmoil will overtake the world....

Through it all, God wants to be our "fortress." God wants to be our "stronghold." God wants to be our "ever-present help."

But God isn't going to force Himself on anyone. We must choose to rest in Him if we want to experience that protection.

Seven days for that message. Oh what a wonder I would have missed if I had stopped at day six.

* Baker and Carpenter. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament. p. 579.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, this idea of "uncreation" has my mind going. And oh, how it does contrast against a Fortress, a Stronghold, an Ever-present Help. I can't imagine how this must be, watching the earth melt away there in LA.

    Thanks for doing the challenge! I'm so glad God spoke to you the way He did. (And no worries on wasted years, He'll tell you what He wants you to know any day of the week!)