Friday, March 04, 2005

in the beginning ...

When my sister Tarri used to sit around the table with my mom and Megan and me, listening to tales of "the time we went there" or "the time we did that," she'd grow impatient to hear her own name.

"What about me?" she'd eventually ask. "Where was I?"

We'd exchange guilty glances. "Uh ... you were still in heaven."

That usually did the trick. As long as she was somewhere, she was satisfied.

We couldn't tell her the truth. We couldn't say, "Tarri, you weren't there. In fact, you weren't anywhere at all, because you didn't exist yet."

It's a bit disturbing to contemplate your own beginning. One moment, you didn't exist. You were nothing, nowhere, nobody. You weren't floating out in space, waiting for just the right time to make your appearance. You weren't anywhere. And then, suddenly ... you were. You existed.

It's an odd thought. But what's even more disconcerting, more alarming, more difficult to grab hold of, is the fact that God had no beginning. Think about that for a minute. There was never a time, never a split second, when God didn't exist.

My son wrestled with that fact at an early age. One afternoon, when he was about eight, Zac turned to me in the car and said, "Mom, think about it. God made himself. He did it all by himself ... nobody helped him."

I nodded.

We were silent for a few seconds, and then he shook his head. "Mom--he made himself!

Our minds just can't seem to hold that notion. God had no beginning--he just always was. We grapple with that fact because virtually everything else in our world had a beginning.

In a town near my home you can see a tree trunk estimated to be over 600 years old. A sign displayed nearby points out all the important events that transpired during that tree's lifetime: Columbus came to visit. Tax-weary rebels in Boston threw a tea party. Adventure-seekers tossed their possessions in rickety wagons and set off to find gold, or land, or just a new beginning.

When I touch that tree, I'm awed to realize that the wood beneath my fingers is so ancient. It doesn't bother me that my own life is just a pin dot on the map of history. But I also understand that at some point, a little over 600 years ago, even that tree didn't exist. One day there was nothing on that spot, and then a seed dropped and opted to take root. And just like that--a tree was born.

God was never born. He made an appearance once, for our benefit, through newborn flesh, but he wasn't reallly born in the sense that he was coming into existence for the first time. He's been here all along.

"In the beginning, God ..." Genesis 1:1

Take a moment today to meditate on that truth. And then let this thought sink in: that majestic, brilliant, beautiful Being--for reasons known only to him--decided to form your body and breathe life into your lungs and initiate the rhythm of your heartbeat. He set you in the exact place where you would most likely learn of and reach for him. He surrounded you with people who would mold you--through hard experiences as well as good--into the person you are today. He created work with your very name on it, and today he's beckoning you with a warm, inviting hand to join him in fulfilling his plan for our world.

Are you as awed by that as I am?

4 Comment:

At 3/04/2005 10:15 AM, Blogger Nancy had this to say ...

Just like not being able to comprehend that there wasn't a beginning for God, the idea of no end is just as mind bending. Why then is He the Alpha and Omega, He is our beginning and our end. Very thought provoking this morning... thank you.

At 3/05/2005 2:07 AM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

I can't say it better than you and Nancy did. :)

At 3/07/2005 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

"...for reasons known only to Him."
I am in awe as well. In fact I don't think there's room in all eternity to grasp it. But I'm anxious to try!

At 10/05/2007 10:45 AM, Blogger Nicole had this to say ...

I really like the photo you used for this entry. Could you please tell me where you found it? I'd like to use it on my website.



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