It has been a little over two weeks since our plane touched down in the land of OZ and one word keeps coming to my mind: Surrounded. I am surrounded by great beauty (I know what some of you maybe thinking..."Marty, you've been surrounded by great beauty ever since you started hanging around Ruthann!" That's a given.). What I'm talking about is the creation that I see every day...the multi colored parrots that are as common here as pigeons in London, flowers that are blooming even though winter is fast approaching (I use the word winter loosely, winter here means a fridged 50-60 degrees), the ocean and how it rages to the coast, the river and the pelicans that sore looking for fish, the sky and it’s deep hue of blue with fluffy white clouds, the rolling hills and mini mountains. I'm surrounded by the glory of God through His creation.
There's also great beauty in the church we've become a part of: people who deeply love Jesus and are so expressive in their love. They have enveloped us in that love. I don't think I've been kissed (cheek) and hugged by so many little "old" (older than me) ladies in my life. Not even at family reunions!
There is another surrounding that I’m reminded of in Hebrews 12:1:
“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
In the past I’ve always associated that verse with those who have died and are now in the presence of Jesus, cheering us on. I’ve thought of my mom, grandparents, friends, and the great numbers of those who have lived and died loving Jesus. I still think of that but, but the last few weeks I’ve been reminded at how we’ve been surrounded in this adventure by many dear friends and family who are still on this earth cheering us on. Your prayers and words of encouragement have surrounded us during this time. Thank you seems so trite. But, thank you!
Most of all, I sense that God is surrounding us with His presence. I am trying this Easter to grasp the presence of God in everywhere I look, in everything I do, and in every conversation I engage. I hope this Easter you sense the "surrounding" of God. He's there right beside you!
G’day and Happy Easter, Marty