Ube city held its annual festival with over 10,000 rockets. Choreographed to music in 6 bouts it was quite the performance.
However as the fireworks (or fire flowers as the Japanese call them) burst over the bay flashes over the oceans horizon occasionally catch your eye. You'd look, but it would be gone and your gaze would be once again captivated by a burst of orange and purple. Then the distant flash would occur again way off to the right. It was heat lightning firing through the clouds over the pacific ocean.
Now there is a choice. To watch the nonstop razzle dazzle of man or wait for the arcing lightning jump through the clouds. It felt weird to think that by watching the fireworks display worth thousands of dollars I was somehow missing out, but I waited patiently staring out at a black horizon missing hundreds of fireworks. I wasn't disappointed. What I saw and most of the crowd missed was two arcs of purple and orange lightning crisscross as they lit up two cumulonimbus clouds.
In a way I think following God can be a lot like this competing display. The world will never cease to strive for our attention with seemingly attractive displays of beauty and desire. However in the end the enjoyment is short lived and all that remains is a lot of smoke and ringing in your ears. Worse, it distracts us from God and what He is doing in the world, which like the heat lightning was infinitely more powerful and more beautiful. But we have to let the desires of the world pass us by sometimes in order to wait on God.
In this way Jesus' use of Isaiah strikes home in Matthew 13:14, "hearing you will hear and not understand, and seeing you will not see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull." God is moving and working in the world, but we've become so distracted with daily things that we miss it.
To drive the illustration home, one of the festival displays of fireworks was to remember all the lives lost in the tsunami. The song to which the fireworks had been timed was none other than "Amazing Grace." It was so amazing to worship God in public with music and light that I felt my eyes moisten. But for the unreached people of Japan, many of whom refused hearing the gospel that very week, they listened on in complete oblivion.
Whether in America or Japan we must not miss what God is saying and doing right before us because we've grown accustomed to the distractions of this world (no matter how attractive they may be), for God will not disappoint.
Brett & Beth record their milestones in academia and medicine as they roam far and wide with Jethro, Edessa, and Genevieve in tow.