Viewless From the North Rim


Viewless From The North Rim   

In less than a week my wife and I become empty nesters.   Emotionally,  I’m not sure how I’ll deal with this rapidly approaching and inescapable  reality.  I tend towards being an emotional mushball  anyway,  so I am looking forward to the moment when I drive away from the college campus leaving my daughter a continent away from home with something less than joy.

We decided together  to make this transcontinental trip to college a family vacation, potentially  our last vacation together as a family in its current make-up.  We took two weeks off  from work and began the drive from Illinois to California, stopping to visit some national parks along the way.  What a beautiful country.   God  most surely dwells in the American Southwest.

The apex of our vacation was the Grand Canyon.  Ever since our children were born my wife has wanted to take them there.  Being overseas missionaries our time in the US was always limited, so long leisurely vacations in America were a rarity.  But this was a special time.   We now live in America, we have a nice comfortable, fuel efficient  car, and  we had to go California to drop our daughter off at college.   This was the first and likely the  last time to do the family vacation to the Grand Canyon about which my wife had been dreaming.

We left our hotel early yesterday morning to begin the three-hour drive from St. George, Utah to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Ninety percent of the Grand Canyon’s  visitors go to the South Rim, but a quick visit to the Canyon via Google Earth  had shown us the perfect place on the North Rim  from which to view the canyon:  a long, frighteningly  narrow natural walkway   that jutted out into the canyon like a lonely hair on a bald man’s head.  We guessed that the view from that long, narrow,  lonely,  jutting ridge would  be spectacular.

We got to the park entrance, paid the $25 entrance fee, and laughed at the sign that said “No refunds for poor  visibility.”    As we drove into the park we saw low clouds, clouds which encroached lower and lower the closer we got to the canyon itself.  When we arrived at the canyon’s edge, to the very place we had chosen earlier to be our vantage point,  at what was to have been the high point of our last family vacation together,   visibility was about a hundred feet.   We could have gotten the exact same view on a cold, drizzly day in March back in Illinois.

Having paid the $25 to see nothing did not bother me.  What left the hollow feeling in my stomach and pain in my heart was that this was the vacation moment my wife had dreamed of ever since our son was born over 20 years ago, and there we were with nothing to see.  What filled my soul with sorrow was that this was our last family vacation of this type, the vacation moment  we had longed for and talked about and planned for but which turned out to be nothing but $25 fog.  Feeling cheated does not begin to express how I felt.

I have always struggled with prayer.  Prayer seldom seems to make sense to me.  It often seems like wasted time.  I often feel when I pray that I have failed to concoct the right ordering of words  which would have forced God to grant my request.   So, here I was facing painful, bitter disappointment that all our planning had come to naught, that my wife’s vacation  dream for our children had fallen flat, and that this, our last time together in this fashion as a family, had come down to seeing what we could have seen in the Midwest on a bad weather day.    I was a bit upset at the capricious almighty God, the  Creator of the universe, who had  chosen to thumb his nose at me and go “nanny nanny boo boo.”

I tried to put a good face on things and make jokes with my kids, but the disappointment and anger were there.  As we walked along the edge of one of the most beautiful spots on Earth (so they tell me because we saw nothing) I prayed, “Father in Heaven,  please, I really want this to be a good day.  I don’t want this to be a bad memory for my kids and I don’t want my  wife’s  dream for a wonderful last pre-empty nest family vacation to end in disappointment.”

Like opening  a present at Christmas, the fog began  to unwrap itself from the canyon.  An open patch in the clouds here, a bursting ray of sunlight there, a  gust of fog-lifting wind all around us and little by little, piece by piece,  fragment by fragment, the canyon was revealed.  “Look over there, I can see a cliff.  Wow, look through that open patch, cool, I can see the canyon floor – that is beautiful.”    As on the first day of creation, God seemed to  be making  the Grand Canyon fresh, new,  just for us.  The magnificent canyon  appeared out of nowhere with each new breathtaking scene being revealed one at a time as the fog disappeared.   Each vista was new.  Each vista was unique.  Each vista was set in its own wispy frame.   The lifting of the foggy curtain allowed the show to begin.

My anger at God and my disappointment  were transformed into joy and gratitude.  God had chosen to awe us with a grand  unveiling.  He had placed us in the park on that day in those conditions so that he could  lift the curtain on what he had made.  He had given us the privilege of watching him joyfully and excitedly open the curtain on what surely must be  the most spectacular “show and tell”  of all time.

I still don’t understand prayer;  I  probably never will, but  I think I understand God at least a wee bit better.  I think I just  experienced  God  proudly, excitedly, breathlessly  and with a bit of divine showmanship say, “Look  at what I made.  Isn’t it beautiful?”  I believe he was pleased with my reaction.


Macrochristian? Huh?

In the movie  “The Sound of Music,” Julie Andrews  sings “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”  Good practical advice.  With this post we are announcing a new beginning.  This is the beginning of a new blog  and, hopefully, for many of us,  a new way of life called  “Macrochristian.”

Time for definitions.  Macrochristian – what is it?  First, what isn’t a Macrochristian?   A Macrochristian is not a sweating, morbidly obese fundamentalist Christian greasily gluttonizing his or her way to a slow but early death while singing generic, mass produced worship songs and filling in the blanks in pre-printed Bible study guides.  Nor is a Macrochristian a small-minded Microchristian peering out at a dangerous  world from behind an impenetrable protective force field of exclusionary beliefs.

A Macrochristian is an obedient  follower of Jesus who believes that all things will be reconciled to God by the blood of Christ (Colossians 1:20).  A Macrochristian  believes that all things will be renewed (Matthew 19:28).  He or she  looks forward to the Acts 3:21 “restoring of all things.”  These are people who deeply anticipate  and long for the earth to be set free from death and decay (Romans 8:21).

The Macrochristian is filled with hope.   We are energized by  the task of working to save all things.  We believe that we can, should and will make a difference in issues of justice, human trafficking, economics, poverty, violence, the environment and evangelism.  We believe that as followers of Jesus we can, must and will make the world a much better place on which to enjoy life now while waiting for his return to set up his physical kingdom on earth once again.

The Macrochristian is a big-picture thinker who understands his or her role in making the world a better place.   We view  ourselves as God’s junior partners,  obediently assisting him as he accomplishes what he has chosen to do.  We Macrochristians have strongly held beliefs but know that until Jesus comes back and heals our sin obstructed minds that some of our beliefs are only partially understood at best or could simply be flat out wrong.  We sincerely aim to be faithful to the teachings of the Bible but understand that culture, history, peer pressure and incomplete knowledge make understanding the Bible with full accuracy difficult to attain.

The purpose of this blog is to encourage all followers of Jesus to actively pursue making this beautiful planet even better, safer, healthier and more productive.  We want to help transform as many people as possible into becoming forgiven, obedient followers of Jesus who will join us in the effort to make this world what God intends it to be.

If you are a big-picture thinker, are enthusiastic about making the world a better place, and understand that as followers of Jesus we are  the chosen instrument  to make all this happen, you are already  a Macrochristian.   Come, let us join our efforts together and let’s do our part in making the world a better place. Together let’s build bases  of sustainable good.  Imagine  our world when there are  a billion people thinking this way.  I can’t wait.  It will be beautiful.

Welcome to Macrochristian.  Make comments on this blog.  Send suggestions, correct our mistakes, share with all of us what the Lord has shown you in this area.  Invite your friends to participate.  Let’s make the world a better place while we wait for Jesus to come back.