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Your hidden glory in all creation
Walking around the lake in the early evening, my heart yearned to reflect clearly the heart of God even as the lake reflected the heavenly masterpiece of white clouds, sunshine, and colors of dusk above.
“How do I walk in a way worthy of Your gospel?”
This is the question I asked my Lord as I walked. The path in front of me curved and bended winsomely in different directions, but always stayed inside the boundaries true to itself. Its width never changed even as it lead me sometimes in unexpected directions. Without seeing it with my eyes, but somehow knowing it in my heart, I knew the Lord responded to my question with a gentle, kind, and just a bit rueful smile as I walked upon this winding path. He knows me so much better than I know myself, and sometimes chooses to lead me on adventures that challenge me to leave behind boxes or safety nets, ways of thinking about Him that leave me comfortable but truly knowing and experiencing His almighty goodness. He doesn’t frighten me with these adventures, because His way may take many turns but its boundaries don’t change. The way of truth is a narrow way with a broad path to my feet.
Bringing my ponderings back into focus of the present moment, I chose to simply be aware of the Lord’s presence, His closeness with me, as I waited to understand what it was He had for me to do. Soon I came upon a group of partiers taking advantage of a hot Friday night by the lake. I continued past them, but stopped at a small, vacant gazebo several yards off. The only specific action I sensed the Lord give me was to worship. To dance with Him, just like I love to do. So I turned on worship music from my phone and began to dance, expressing to God the highest magnitude possible of my gratitude to Him, my faith in Him, my love for Him. For me, time stands still in these kinds of moments. However, reality soon sped up, and each of those precious moments of exchange - expressing love to Him and receiving more and more of Love’s expression - became invaluable to prepare for the next moment’s encounter.
A scantily clad young woman from the partiers’ group ran up and began dancing beside me, but not with the intention of worship. She was booty dancing and seeking the attention of the group, receiving cat calls and laughter as a response. As she started dancing I stopped and, quite honestly, took a moment to give a rueful glance back to the Lord as I asked Him about the best way to respond! What I received from the Holy Spirit in that moment was wisdom as to the spiritual atmosphere. I realized that Satan wanted to place the attention on himself and take it away from the Lord, but the Lord would use the opportunity to take what was exposed as darkness and expel it with light.
After several moments of the raucous dancing, the young woman stopped and looked at me. I looked at her, and waited for what she wanted to say.
“What are you doing?” she asked me. “I saw you dancing. It was a really interesting kind of dance. Were you doing ballet or something? What were you doing?”
Meekly yet straightforwardly I replied, “I am worshipping Jesus.”
“Oh...” was her initial response. I could see in her face she wasn’t sure what she should think about this, and she was nervous about what I thought of her.
“Sorry if what I was doing offended you,” she said.
I shook my head to indicate she had nothing to worry about, and quickly stuck out my hand for a handshake before she could run back to the partiers’ group. “What’s your name?”
She told me her name, and I told her it was beautiful. She took another look at me. Then she asked me a question I wasn’t expecting.
“Will you teach me to do that?”
“What?” I replied.
“Will you teach me to do that kind of dance you were doing? It’s beautiful; I want to try.”
This was one of those twists on the path of this adventure, but I knew the Lord was holding me safe within the boundaries of His love, so I said, “Yes, sure I’ll teach you!”
I turned my worship music back on, and took her hand as we did simple pliés together standing under the gazebo. Soon another woman from the group came over and asked what we were doing. “She’s worshipping Jesus, and teaching me to dance!” my new friend explained. I thought to myself that I was grateful that if nothing else, by the end of this encounter this precious young woman would have a new perspective on dancing!
There we were, three of us hand-in-hand under a gazebo on a hot Friday evening, practicing pliés and relevés and tendus to the rhythm of “You were the Word at the beginning, one with God the LORD Most High! Your hidden glory in creation, to revealed in You our Christ! What a beautiful name...” (Hillsong “What a Beautiful Name”)
My new friends later walked back to their group and had a few more sips of beer and some more raucous laughs. But I know that through even a moment experiencing the glory and presence of God something was changed in their hearts. It will be their choice whether or not they choose to seek Him out more, and with that unknown I simply entrust it to the Lord. I know He will never stop pursuing them, even as I remember back to His relentless pursuit of my own heart. I pray for them. I have faith for their salvation.
And as for me, I continue to stand in awe of His brilliance, and with humble delight reflect His glory even as the heavens glisten their reflection off of the still water.
- Emily Elling