Finding the EXTRA in ORDINARY

On any nothing-out-of-the-ordinary day, just any routine-normal day, does God ever show up for you with the extraordinary?  No, nothing is wrong with ordinary, everyday happenings of a take-for-granted, run-of-the-mill day.  So if you enjoy being a typical, everyday person, is there anything you should be concerned about? Not necessarily, however, I believe that we should seek to observe God’s glory and feel a touch of His GRACE everyday.   Do we become too content by an ordinary, comfortable day that we fail to expect God to show up in our unexceptional lives, or do we often fail to recognize His extraordinary presence in the midst of a not-so-good challenging day?

On Monday, August 21, during the dark cycle in the solar eclipse, I was sitting outside on my daughter’s porch with my 8-month old grandson Ezra in my lap.  The apartment night lights had just come on as if evening were approaching, and other neighboring apartments in the complex were sprinkled with occupants outside on their porches or balconies.  Not much for me was out of the ordinary on this day as I babysat my two grandchildren while their parents worked. Ezra enjoyed being outdoors for a short time while Nora took her nap, and I watched the other onlookers, pondering if they knew God was revealing His glory to our darkened world.  I sat and visualized in my mind the extraordinary event taking place in the universe above, one of the wonders of God’s creative powers.

Over 2000 years ago, an ordinary couple made their way to Bethlehem for a census and found themselves lodging in a humble manger used for keeping animals secure.  There had to have been darkness within this last-resort shelter, particularly at night–a limited amount of light filtering through even during the daytime.  Sharing with the animals, a layer of musty straw was found to serve as a bed.  There was nothing special about their surroundings, yet a remarkable birth took place while the couple was there.  Their lives were changed forever as they welcomed their baby boy into a world that desperately needed a touch of God’s glory.  Amazingly, a bright star eventually illuminated the sky above with a message of hope, announcing the extraordinary event.

Just over 45 years ago, a college freshman, studying to become a teacher, returned to her dorm room one afternoon with a heart filled with confusion and darkness.  Grades and roommates were not the issues at hand, but her soul was in turmoil and ached for relief from her indecisiveness.  She was glad that no one else was around on this particular day.  With her normal routine intact to the outside world, she was tired of her concealed “everything’s OK” façade, and determined a difficult decision had to be made.  The dorm being exceptionally quiet, the young woman sitting in contemplation at her desk in the dim light eventually bowed her head in surrender.  All alone she made a choice that would change her life forever.  No bright lights shone down upon her, but enlightenment took place in her heart as God’s glory touched her soul. Immediately, there was rejoicing in heaven above, recognizing this extraordinary event as another sinner repented and became a child of God.

These three events all took place on an ordinary 24-hour day.  What made the day different was that God’s creative, loving touch was in the midst of a special event–His glory shining through.   Isn’t God capable of showing up everyday in the midst of His creation, in the midst of my life and yours?   Sure He is, after all He is always with us.  Then the question becomes, why is it that on certain days I don’t see the extraordinary?  What blinds me from receiving the gifts God offers so freely? Being honest, I have to admit there are days when unexpected circumstances arise, and I begin looking at life through clouded lens and a blinded soul. Without the acknowledgement of His presence, I am not allowing God into my being, nor do I always want to accept His extraordinary gift of GRACE to help me through.

“What the sun is to the earth, Christ is to the human heart–the light that penetrates the soul.”  This profound statement by Billy Graham shows how focused and connected God’s plans for His people have always been.  The earth needs the sun; the human heart needs Christ.  The light from the sun and from Christ is brilliant–both with life-giving qualities.  The sun constantly shines…even when it’s cloudy.  God wants to constantly bring LIGHT into my life, your life, and into the world.

A life-giving source like the sun is a wonder of our universe. During creation, God placed this star in its precise position (not too close…not too far away) to give earth and its inhabitants a place to live with just the proper amount of light. Man, however, cannot change or alter the stars, moon or sun; scientists can study our solar system and the weather, but ultimately they have no control.  The eclipse was in the news for weeks before the actual event. There were warnings ever present before and up to the day of our total solar eclipse…do not look directly at the sun…wear the protective glasses…do not take chances with this powerful source of light.  We cannot control the sun, nor can we live without it.  We cannot control hurricanes or alter the havoc that they can produce.  These days, I often believe there is a certain amount of either fear or defiance in knowing that something is unconquerable.  Those emotions can also hinder the pathway of LIGHT into our souls.

What keeps us from looking directly at our life-giving sources…whether it be the sun or our creator God?  Physically, there is risk involved.  If we actually look directly at the sun, our eyesight will be affected negatively, even to the point of actual blindness.  Even Moses, who heard directly from God, learned that no man could look upon God’s face and live.  After all, we are only human and can only comprehend God through Jesus.  These two powerful light sources can penetrate our earthly existence in a positive way as long as we understand the limits they place upon us. Knowing that we are powerless to change the universe or God, do we balk at God because we cannot make Him into what we want Him to be?

What blinded many of the persons alive when Christ was born and the star was guiding the wise men to the source of life?  The Messiah had been promised for years and years, yet when He came to earth, many did not choose to see Him nor want to accept Him.  Many had hardened hearts that could not be pierced with any amount of light.  They chose their legalistic, man-made laws over the Christ child.  Rules are necessary, but they can distort our reasoning if they are used for personal gain.  Others felt the cost was too high, and others feared a change that seemed unprecedented and out of the ordinary.

What blinds certain individuals from accepting the saving grace offered by Jesus?  Many times pride keeps our souls from following the light offered.  Self arguments have free range. I do not need more restrictions in my life or someone else telling me what to do.  I do not want to look weak.  On the other spectrum, emotional baggage feels too big of a problem.  I am not good enough; no one has done the things I have done.   I am beyond help.  The excuses go on and on.

But the One and Only God of the universe loves us and knows what we need on any ordinary day.  When the touch of God breaks through the darkness, LIGHT shines with piercing brightness creating the extraordinary.  Every time that LIGHT breaks through, GRACE is extended upon the world or into another person.  Too many times we allow outside forces or our spiritual blindness to keep us from receiving what God has for us.  We can so easily miss the extraordinary gift of His glory by not recognizing that God is so much bigger, so much greater than what we know in our finite minds.

In spite of our limited sight or self-imposed blindness on any given ordinary day, God can still pierce through and do the extraordinary.  God wants to do more for us than we can imagine.  Why settle for just ordinary?  Expect God to show up.  He’s already there waiting to touch your life with extraordinary love and exceptional GRACE each and every day.  Open your eyes and embrace the LIGHT that can and will penetrate your soul.









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