I went for a walk today, in the early morning hours. The moon was still high in the sky, yawning its way toward the western horizon, and the kiddos still fast asleep. I took my favorite 4 mile route through the state park because I knew my customary summer weekday 2 mile walk around the "block" wouldn't be enough.
I love walking. Y'all know that, right? I certainly talk about it enough. I especially love walking in the early morning hours. God is with me on my walks. I am sometimes talking, sometimes listening, always walking with my Savior.
My favorite 4 mile walk follows along the north side of the river and lake, but the dense forest blocks the view of the water for most of the time. I came to one of two breaks in the trees overlooking the lake, sat on my rock, and gazed down toward the water. The lake was still as glass. It looked so peaceful, so calm, and suddenly, I wanted to be on the lake, soaking in the stillness and serenity. I wanted to be down in the quiet, the only sound my paddle dipping into the water, the only movement my boat cutting across the smooth surface of the lake. I wanted my soul to mirror the water.
It was so beautiful.
But as beautiful as that lake is, it's only a shadow of the glory it was meant to be. Like a hazy, grimy film, this world and everything in it bears the stain of sin and brokenness.
I think of it like those Disney movies, released from the vault and digitally restored. You don't realize how drab and faded the films have become until you see them next to the remastered film--you don't even know what you're missing, how sharp and colorful and lovely they can be. The original films are wonderful. But the restored films are so much better. Just like my lake--I don't even know what I'm missing, none of us does. There are places of beauty in our world, but a restored world will be unimaginably better.
It must hurt the Creator's heart so, to see what our choices have wrought upon His masterpiece, to see the consequences we've rained down on ourselves, to realize we don't even know what we've done, to see His beautiful world tainted by so much pain, so much brokenness. How can God even bear to look?
And still, He draws near. In the midst of ugliness and pain, He seeks to restore, to renew. He shows us glimpses of His glory, the beauty that could be, that should be. And He bids us walk with Him.
Come, Lord Jesus.