“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4, ESV
Light clouds freckled the eastern sky as dawn contemplated an appearance. It seemed as though every imaginable color had been carefully and meticulously added to an already beautiful painting. I watched carefully, amazed, yet anticipating the next wondrous scene. It seemed to change from glory to glory each time I blinked my eyes.
Such is the view from the eastern window of my kitchen whenever conditions are just right. But I have learned to pull my gaze from those scenes from time to time to look out the western window of my kitchen.
You see, the morning sun does some beautiful things to the trees, grass, snow, etc. when its first beams reach them, whether the sunrise is stunning, or somewhat obscured by clouds. The light is soft and beautiful as it wraps itself around each and every leaf. In the winter, the reflection of the sun bounces gently off the snow giving everything a soft orange glow. And if happen to see a deer or turkey in that light, it’s almost as if Heaven itself is smiling.
But this post is not really about all of that beauty. Rather, it is about a lesson that I learned, right there in my kitchen one day.
We have all likely experienced a time when we felt distant from God. Perhaps we were feeling worn-out or empty, and that God just didn’t seem to be working in our lives as He had in the past. It seemed as though our cups were empty instead of “running over”. In times like that we may ask, “where is God?” The Psalmist asked, “Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1, ESV).
When I asked that same question in a difficult time of life, God helped me to see that the sunrise is Him working in brilliant and obvious ways in our lives. Sometimes the sunrise isn’t all that dazzling, and we feel a bit let down. But if we turn away from the sunrise, looking not at ourselves, we can see the hand of God at work in the lives of others.
I know that may not be all that satisfying when we are feeling empty, but it should be. When we see God at work in the lives of others, we are given the opportunity to glorify Him from a purely selfless heart. We worship Him because of who He is. We worship Him because He is worthy. And because He extends His grace so freely.
When we struggle to find God at work in our lives, it is so easy to become blinded to the rest of the world. But, as Paul points out in Philippians 2:3, we should be looking at God’s work in others even more than we look for His work in us!
I have found that in those dark and empty feeling times, putting others first helps me to recognize that God has never stopped working in my life. Where is God? Hard at work in the lives of others, and even though I may struggle to see Him, He’s hard at work in my life, too.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
Photo by Ian Beckley from Pixels.