Rediscovering Amazement

24 02 2011

From where I write I can see seven miracles. White-crested waves slap the beach with rhythmic regularity. One after the other the rising swells of salt water gain momentum, rising, then standing to salute the beach before crashing onto the sand. How many billions of times has this simple mystery repeated itself since time began? In the distance lies a miracle of colours —twins of blue. The ocean-blue of the Atlantic encounters the pale blue of the sky, separated only by the horizon, stretched like a taut wire between two poles. Also within my eyesight are the two bookends of life. A young mother pushes a baby in a carriage, both recent participants with God in the miracle of birth. They pass a snowy-haired, stooped old gentleman seated on a bench, a victim of life’s thief—age. (I wonder if he is aware of the curtain closing on his life.) Behind them are three boys kicking a soccer ball on the beach. With effortless skill they coordinate countless muscles and reflexes, engage and disengage perfectly designed joints … all to do one task—move a ball in the sand.

Miracles. Divine miracles. These are miracles because they are mysteries. Scientifically explainable? Yes. Reproducible? To a degree. But still they are mysteries. Events that stretch beyond our understanding and find their origins in another realm. They are as much a reminder of God’s presence. They are miracles. They are signs. They are testimonies. They are instantaneous incarnations. They remind us of the same truth: The unseen is clearly visible. The distant has drawn near. The majesty of God is not hidden. And he is in the most common of earth’s corners.

In fact, it is the normality not the uniqueness of God’s miracles that causes them to be so staggering. Rather than shocking the globe with an occasional random demonstration of deity, God has opted to display his power daily. Proverbially. Pounding waves. Prism-cast colors. Birth, death, life. We are surrounded by miracles. God is throwing evidence at us like fireworks, each one exploding, “God is! God is!” The psalmist marvelled at such handiwork. “Where can I hide from your Spirit?” he questioned with delight. “Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I go down to the depths of the ocean, you are there.” (Psalm 139: 7-8)

How is it, that with so many miraculous testimonies around us, we could escape God? But somehow we do. We live in an art gallery of divine creativity and yet are content to gaze only at the carpet. Or what is pathetically worse, we demand more. More signs. More proof. More hat tricks. As if God were some vaudeville magician we could summon for a dollar. How have we grown so deaf? How have we grown so immune to awesomeness? Why are we so reluctant to be staggered or thunderstruck?

Perhaps the frequency of the miracles blinds us to their beauty. After all, what spice is there in a springtime or a tree blossom? Don’t the seasons come every year? Aren’t there countless seashells just like this one? Bored, we say Ho-hum and replace the remarkable with the regular, the unbelievable with the anticipated. Science and statistics wave their un-magic wand across the face of life, squelching the oohs and aahs and replacing them with formulas and figures. Science can explain how – but it can never explain why.

Would you like to see God? Then rediscover amazement. The next time you hear a baby laugh or see an ocean wave, take note. Pause and listen as His Majesty whispers ever so gently, “I’m here.”

Max Lucado, God Came Near





“If” – by Rudyard Kipling

22 02 2011

IF you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,                    

Or if lied about, you don’t deal in lies,

Or if hated, you don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;             

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by rogues to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,              

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;                    

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,               

Or walk with Kings yet keep the common touch,

if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,                     

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – what is more – you’ll be a Man, my son.





Self talk – what do YOU say?

18 02 2011

This is a fantastic, thought-provoking poem from the website of Sydney executive & life coaching company Self Talk (website www.selftalk.com.au). Enjoy – and let yourself consider the questions it raises. – Quinton

At every moment, when you’re awake

And sometimes whilst you dream

You are actually talking to yourself

Making sense of what you see

Self talk is your constant interpreter

A part of everything you do

Its made up of what you say to yourself

Yes, it all comes down to you!

So take a minute to reflect

What self talk are you doing now?

Are you setting yourself up for success?

Or mindlessly waning your power?

And if you’ve never taken time

To notice what you’re saying

Take a minute, spend some time

Read on and stop delaying!

Light hearted though this poem may be

Don’t underestimate the theme

Working on yourself is a life-long journey

Coaching can help you build your dreams!





The Voice (of doubt) and what to do with it

16 02 2011





The Woodcutter’s Wisdom – accepting things as they are

11 02 2011

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before—such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength. People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them. “It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?” The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see him. “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone, and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.” The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?” The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.” The old man spoke again. “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?” The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. “Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us.” The man responded, “Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of a phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase? “Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment! Don’t say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don’t.” “Maybe the old man is right,” they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments. “You were right,” they said. “You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever.” The old man spoke again. “You people are obsessed with judging. Don’t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments.”

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again. “You were right, old man,” they wept. “God knows you were right. This proves it. Your son’s accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever.” The old man spoke again. “It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows.”

The old man was right. We only have a fragment. Life’s mishaps and horrors are only a page out of a grand book. We must be slow about drawing conclusions. We must reserve judgment on life’s storms until we know the whole story. I don’t know where the woodcutter learned his patience. Perhaps from another woodcutter in Galilee. For it was the Carpenter who said it best: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matthew 6:34). He should know. He is the Author of our story. And he has already written the final chapter.

by Max Lucado