Monday, June 01, 2009

little things and a great God

I was visiting a friend's blog this morning, and as Rick MacInnes Rae on CBC's 'Dispatches' always says, it put me in mind of a dispatch of my own. Actually this story always comes up when I think on the monstrosity of this world, both in the sense of scale and the sense of tragedy, because it reminds me of the even greater scope of the God who is over all. I need this story because it helps me feel both frightfully small and immensely significant at the same time, like a child looking up at his Father.
This story came upon the heels of our first great adventure as a family and the beginning of the downtime in between. It was in the suspended moment when we thought the 'fun' would just keep going on and that the adventure was what it was all about, and the moment when we discovered that it was all about falling into the yawning chasm that is the deeps of our God. It was the reassuring transaction with a Father who wanted to take my hand and just walk together while I struggled to let go of all the 'doing'.
Appropriately the story happened out on the vast expanse of prairies south of Saskatoon where we sojourned for three months before returning to Kelowna to begin the sojourning in earnest. The lodge that we were staying at had a large field spreading out from the road where you drove in, and it had been mowed regularly to allow the owner's son to use it as a driving range. I found this to be a wonderful surprise as I had a huge golf obsession back then and had purchased some new clubs when we lived in Shanghai. The cost of using them in China with my one day a week off work, wife, and three kids meant that they had never been broken in; except for that memorable father's day round of golf at Bin Hai Golf and Country Club, Shanghai. This was as dissimilar a vista as could be imagined from the manicured fairways and greens of Bin Hai, but the stubbly grass of the prairies suited me just fine, and the hours whiled away whacking and searching became a meeting place with my Father. It may seem odd to those who do not know me (please refrain from too much chortling Steve), but God often speaks to me through numbers, patterns, and circumstances, and the thing with the golf balls was no different. It was during one of these sessions that I had been wandering about the field looking for my balls, and had my favorite pen, purchased from a little stationery store on GuYang Lu, tucked behind my ear. When I finished up and readied to head back to the lodge I discovered that the pen was missing. There was no chance of finding it out in the huge field of six inch prairie stubble, so I chalked it up as a sad loss and headed in.
The next day when I had a chance to sneak out to the field again to whistfully whack (read: spray) some balls out across the prairie the Lord began to do that thing with the numbers and such again, just to let me know He was there. I know this was the reason, because to this day I cannot remember what the number thing was exactly, but I do remember that lying right next to a particularly significant ball was my favorite pen. I was stopped in my tracks by a little thing that my Father was all too aware of. A little thing that was important to Him because it was important to me. A little thing that was not important, beyond telling me that I was.
I recently told someone some of the things that God has done to make a way for my family to return to China, and in the telling I realised that the story of what He did is why we are going. The stories are not about getting my family there to do exploits, the stories are about why I am going. The stories are there to tell people about this amazing God who fills more than Hubble's weak little eye will ever see, and to let them know that He will also gladly fill the smallest spaces we will ever occupy. The stories are the currency, the money is just the ticket.

1 comment:

NavlGazr said...

No chortling here. in reminding me of just how much the father knows us and cares for us, you have blessed me on a day I kind of needed it. Thanks amigo. Wacking balls across the prairie seems so romantic a thing. Funny hey!?