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July 22, 2008

Of Faithfulness and Fireworks

Firework So I’m back and feel like I owe you all a few snapshots of all that’s happened in the weeks I’ve been away. On the Fourth of July, the day before our wedding, Mark and I along with many of our best friends and family waited out the rain in a muddy field adjacent to the Ford dealership in Spruce Pine, North Carolina hoping the fireworks…coinciding with our final “independence” day… wouldn’t get canceled. The rain clouds cleared just in time for a dazzling small-town display. I’m sure God had the best view though—seeing the faces of his children upturned in delight, “holding wonder like a cup” as poet Sara Teasdale would say. Fireworks remind me of how God works. Sometimes in the deepest darkness God surprises us with beauty and light and wonder too marvelous for words. He bursts onto the scene and overwhelms our senses and our expectations.

The next day in a little church down the road, I felt the same way: a beautiful burst of God’s faithfulness cascading joy and light after a long season of waiting and night. My oldest brother—he also happens to be my pastor—married us. My other brother and his wife sang a beautiful arrangement by Fernando Ortega of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"—there couldn’t have been a more fitting anthem for the day. My beautiful little nieces and handsome nephews took deliberate steps to the cadence of "Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring" while my beaming groom stood waiting, watching for his bride.

There is so much I could say. I could tell you about the tender way Mark dried my tears when we got to the line in "Praise to the Lord the Almighty," “Hast thou not seen how thy desires have been granted in what he ordaineth,” and joy got the better of me. I could tell you how the mid-morning rains cleared to make way for friends and family to enjoy a beautiful mountain view and the cheerful sounds of a bluegrass band. There’s so much I could tell you, but I guess I will leave it at this.

Just like fireworks, sometimes God paints our world with streaming beauty. Sometimes God paints our world in many-splendored light. Sometimes God paints our world with aching violet blue against a canvas black as night. Just like fireworks, sometimes God dazzles us with unexpected glory. Sometime God dazzles us with turning bleakness blazing bright. Sometimes God dazzles us with booming brilliance. And when He does, I for one hope that our faces--upturned, awestruck with delight--are an equally radiant show for Him, the author and perfecter of not only our faith, but also our joy.

"I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation." C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

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Steve (SBK)

Congratulations Catherine!
Beautiful story. May your joy be full!

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