Last Christmas was one of those rare perfect days that crop up every so often. There were just the six of us from my family and a guy from church and his girlfriend but it was a time of happiness, laughter, presents, good food and my brother failing to be good at yet another board game. It was one of those memories that are worth treasuring away.
It stands out in particular because in the months that followed I went through some pretty dark times as God and I had a few difficulties to sort out. By that I naturally mean that all the difficulties lay with me and I have quite a number of memories of days when continuing the Christian walk just seemed so pointless, days when I reached out for God and couldn’t find him, dark days, painful days because it felt like my God had forsaken me.
It struck me that this pretty much sums up life. There is so much happiness to be had in this world and so much grief as well. It is hard to meet anyone who is a stranger to suffering, it is hard to meet anyone who has not known times when they hurt more than they thought possible. So we have this dichotomy that runs throughout a man’s life and his very being: such more good, so much evil and pain.
There are moments in life when a particular truth about God hits home harder than it normally does. One such moment happened to me today. Whilst I was praying I was pondering the goodness of God towards me and how underserved it was and suddenly for a few seconds I beheld a measure of the fullness of the infinite goodness of God and it was too much. I had to recoil not because I did not like what I was thinking of, far from it, precisely the opposite was true, God became too wonderful to comprehend, his beauty was too great for my eyes, his love to vast to fathom, his glory beyond tracing out.
And it called to mind a passage in Isaiah which runs as follows:
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Isaiah 6 v 1 - 7