by Whitney Miller
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14 (KJV)
Imagine you are suspended in space, high above planet earth, where there is no atmosphere. The air around you is still -- incredibly still -- and below you, in pale blue light, is our privileged planet. You look around and see the other planets of our solar system, and beyond that, the faint lights of distant galaxies. Though each planet moves swiftly, though the sun burns brightly at unfathomable temperatures, all is in peaceful, perfect, synchronous order.
A radiant light streams from above and beyond everything you see, bathing the entire universe in a warm glow. With the light comes a deep, beautiful, sound, like the sound of bass violins playing the last powerful note of a symphony, the one that perfectly resolves the entire work. It does not travel through space; rather it inhabits space, as if it is the stuff from which space derives its existence. It envelops the earth in a benevolent cocoon of light and sound, like a baby safely ensconced in its mother's womb.
Now you travel into earth's atmosphere and begin to move through landscapes... through a misty forest at daybreak... over the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa... into the crowded marketplace of a third world city... up to the balcony perch of a venerated opera house... over the hospital bed of an elderly man, who lays surrounded by his family...
In every setting you are aware of the presence of the same light-music you experienced in space. The sound and warmth of it permeate everything and everyone, animating people, landscapes, situations. “What is it?” you ask. It is not God Himself, for everything is not God as the pantheist believes; nor is it some impersonal life-force. No, this substance that is over, around and in everything is a visible, audible representation of the sovereign will of God.
We all talk about the sovereignty of God, but I wonder if we understand the enormity and ubiquity of it. It is the sure, steady underpinning of the entire universe. It is bigger than the sum total of all of creation, for God’s sovereignty will remain even when the earth and heavens have been rolled up like a scroll. It permeates every molecule of everything that is or ever was. Our God is here. He is immanent - present in everything He has created. He has absolute control over the course of all things. Though we may act according to our desires at a particular time, it is God who determines the outcome. And He is working all of it together for good for all who are His children through Christ. He loves us and has the power to keep us, to grow us into the likeness of our Lord and Savior, and to carry us safely home to His bosom when the time has come.
Sitting in prayer group one Friday morning, as God unfolded this imagery, a thought entered my head: what if we prayed according to what God had just shown me? What if we prayed to God knowing that He is here, in our midst, with power and great love? What if we approached Him with confidence as His privileged children, knowing His character and that we don't have to beg for Him to rescue us? What if we came to Him in sheer confidence that we have what we ask when we ask according to His will, and that, when we ask amiss, we are never in danger of forfeiting the good He has stored up for us? God is salvation. He always causes us to triumph in Christ. He is here right now, undergirding everything in our lives.
Chances are we will not get everything we wish for. Life is excruciatingly painful at times and sometimes there will be heartaches we won’t understand this side of heaven. Nevertheless, I am suggesting that the next time we approach God in prayer, we might first ask Him to give us a vision of who He is, and how He loves, protects and provides for us, even if we can't always see it at the time. Take a moment to reflect upon His nature, power and wisdom. Then approach Him as His beloved child, in a quiet, persistent confidence that He is working all of this together toward a glorious end.
Enjoy this song, which beautifully captures what I am trying to express: