My Paint by Number project is moving at a snail’s pace, much like our everyday routines these days. It resides on my dining room table at the moment, calling my name to please add some color to the canvas so that it may begin to resemble something recognizable, as you can see below in the picture. The project is now comprised of several shades of green such as grass green, moss green, a gray green, and khaki. I never dreamed there were so many shades that identified themselves as green! Green is not my favorite color at all. If I weren’t enamoured with life-giving, astonishing, brilliant, happy red, I more than likely would be a blue-person. Not the sad-blue, that is some people’s identifying persona. I wouldn’t settle for a light, sky blue or baby blue,or even azure, either. Although the light, sky blue is often seen when you look very closely at some pictures of the face of Jesus; His blue eyes, the penetrating eyes that look way beyond the blue surface and into your soul. That is captivating to me.
The picture is needing something way beyond the blue that will be the next color. When I look at it, I just see something flat, without life, one dimensional, with no life-giving, or soaring with excitement properties. As we move into the different colors, way beyond the blue, my anticipation is that it will come alive with new and abundant features that promote an excitement and a joy to the viewers soul.
As we look at ourselves most days, it would be with a one dimensional eye as if it were a snapshot of us that doesn’t capture the essence of ‘who’ we are. Today, for me, my snapshot would be one with blue sweatshirt, sort of a deep sky blue hoodie, with black pants. However, the image that I just portrayed to you could not include the excitement that I feel that the sun is out at this moment, or the memories that are brought to mind by the smell of freshly cut grass in the air, and the quietness of the afternoon. You’re unable to identify that my senses are heightened with the smell of freshly baked banana bread just out of the oven, or the belly-laugh that was just shared with John. The snapshot is not able to depict the wonder and awe that fills me with the knowledge that our home is illuminated with laughter, light, deep joy, contentment, love and a steadfast peace.
As our life goes on, there are moments that stun us with words or events that may hit us out of the blue. For instance, the day that the ‘C’ word was used by a Doctor to explain John’s biopsy results. Stunned, shocked…right out of the blue, time stood still. There have been telephone calls on which after answering with a cheery hello, we heard ‘Mom or Dad, there a serious problem’, or ‘a truck hit me this morning when out for my run’, or ‘your Mother is gone’. Wait….what???? These moments in time are immobilizing to the very core, they come out of the blue, sometimes without warning. We think to ourselves that it can’t be…the sun is still shining, time is ticking on, but our world as we know it has come to a screeching halt.
We’re living in one of those ‘screeching halt’ moments right now. Right out of the blue, over 1,395,495 corona virus cases in the United States. 82,690 souls lost, each with a face and a story and family. 23.1 Million jobs lost as of April. The stock market has plummeted. Wait….what??? Dazed, overwhelmed, paralyzed. What about graduations, weddings, parties, family reunions, beach vacations, funerals, church services, going shopping, getting a hair cut, it’s pedicure time!… everything on hold for a season.
The only place we can go to is to God, everything else out of the blue is too big. As John 16:33 told us in the Message, “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” That doesn’t mean that the virus will suddenly go away, and we’ll jump right back into our world as we knew it. It will take time, there will be changes in the way that we’re used to doing things, we will continue to rearrange our priorities so that we realize what is most important in our lives. The good news from Romans 8 tells us ‘In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans (He prays for us). The One who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will. We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.’
The good that we can already see in the ‘Covid Times’ is the ‘helpers’ coming out of the blue to help those in need; those on the front line that are providing the care, food banks that are providing basics for those who are in need, stimulus checks that arrive in the mailbox, neighbor helping neighbor, texts and calls to make sure people we love are ok. The circumstances that surrounds us right now will begin to part and with seeing eyes, we will be able to see the help that is coming out of the blue to get us through this Season.
Our lives will be changed as we move through this period of time that has come out of the blue. As we transition through the different shades of blue, may we experience lives that are even greater than we can imagine. May we soar with new excitements and new dreams, as the old ones have been shelved to gather dust. Let’s live with hopefulness and gratefulness the life beyond compare, way beyond the blue. As I am sitting here, I’m reminded of a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, ‘Way Beyond the Blue’. May you be blessed.
“Way Beyond The Blue”
Way beyond the blue, the Father is calling;
Let Him take you to a life beyond compare.
The passion fades and your sense of adventure
Sits collecting dust on a shelf;
The new gets old and hearts get cold.
Where’s the flame that burned with excitement?
Where’s the hope you once knew so well?
It’s lost at sea with all your dreams.
There you stand caught between an endless sky above and earth below;
Look above and beyond what you can see to find a view of all that this life can be.
Way beyond the blue where the Father is calling,
Let Him take you to a life beyond compare;
His love is wider than the sky above you,
And He has plans for you that go way beyond the blue.
Like the wind carries an eagle,
Let His hand carry you now,
And show you scenes of His mighty strength.
As you rise high above all the riches that this world could give,
You will find the depth of His love,
And His grace that is lifting you up to live.