In the Splash Zone

They wanted to be splashed.

That’s what my daughters said as we walked into the pavilion with risers, some of them marked “Splash Zone” and others unmarked, indicating the safer, dryer seating area.

There’s something about childhood that makes you love getting wet, especially when it’s a dolphin splashing her tail that’s sending a wave your way.

Sadly, most of us grow up and out of this urge to get splashed.  We start to climb a little higher to avoid the “Splash Zone,” to play it safe and mature and under control.

My kids, however, crowded into the front rows of seats with all the other excited children and joined in shouting for the dolphin to splash “over here, get me, don’t forget me!”

I may not be eager to get soaked at a dolphin show, but there’s one place where I’m climbing all over folks to sit up front and center.

I’ve been arriving early and often, staunchly guarding my seat until the largest wave of them all rises high over the edges of the pool and splashes down all over me, soaking me through so deeply that you could wring out my soul into a puddle on the ground.

I want a front row seat to God’s glory.  I want to see it, drench in it, feel it, and I don’t want to miss a single drop of His Spirit pouring down.  No playing it safe, comfortable or in control.  If the seats where I’m sitting aren’t marked with warning signs for the Splash Zone, I need to move down closer.

Others have longed for the front row seating for God’s glory.  Like Moses, of course, meeting with God on that holy mountain and asking with so much boldness I can’t even believe he dared to say it: “Show me Your glory.”

Ezekiel saw it and painted unimaginable pictures, trying to cram the glory of God into the confines of words, so unfitting and restrictive.  It was like a rainbow, like bronze, shining bright like a blazing fire.

What was it?

“It turned out to be the Glory of God!  When I saw all this, I fell to my knees, my face to the ground” (Ezekiel 1:28 MSG).

That’s what the uninhibited presence of God does, knocks us straight to the ground.  We can’t postulate and question it, hesitating: “I think this is what God is saying,” or “I think God is in this.”

When you’re sitting in the front row, you can’t mistake His glory.

Rick Warren wrote:

“What is the glory of God?  It is who God is.  It is the essence of his nature, the weight of his importance, the radiance of his splendor, the demonstration of his power, and the atmosphere of his presence.  God’s glory is the expression of his goodness and all his other intrinsic, external qualities” (The Purpose Driven Life, p. 56)

The beloved disciple John’s testimony was that of an eyewitness to this, saying, “We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son” (John 1:14 MSG).

Trampling along after Jesus, James, Peter and John probably didn’t expect much on the day of the transfiguration. They’d taken that walk with Jesus many times.  And hadn’t they just totally messed up at the feeding of the 5000, underestimating Jesus’ ability to transform a meager lunch into a feast for thousands?

They certainly didn’t seem ready to glimpse heaven that day.  Yet, it was there on the Mount of Olives where they saw him no longer as God-man, but God and God alone in all of His divinity and light.

“They saw his glory,” and Peter, the master of understatement said, “Master, it is good for us to be here” (Luke 9:32, 33 NIV).

He’s right, you know.  It may be simple and straightforward, but it is good for us to be in the presence of God’s glory.

These close-knit trio of disciples had followed along after Jesus many times, climbing up the Mount of Olives to pray, taking time out of exhausting ministry to kneel in God’s presence.

But they didn’t see Christ transfigured every time.  That was a one-time event.

That means the Mount of Olives isn’t some magic formula for a God-sighting so much as a constant discipline of our faith.  It’s got to be a daily trek for us, a meeting place with God where we linger often and stubbornly climb even when things are difficult or dreary or we’ve failed.

In Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman wrote: “Every Christian should have his own Mount of Olives”

Because when God reveals His glory, we want to be there.  We won’t want to have missed out that day with excuses of busyness, fatigue, or shame.

I want a front row seat in the splash zone of His glory.  Don’t you?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Weekend Walk: The Discipline to Keep on Going

With rain storms and wind, unexpected days off school for my kids, and then packing all my activity into the other three days of the week, some of my normal routines fell by the wayside this week.

Like walking.

By the time I finally hopped out of my car and stretched my legs into a stride on the sidewalk of our town, it’d been five days since my last true “exercise” (unless you count hauling deck chairs and bicycles into the garage in preparation for a hurricane ‘exercise.’)

All that time off and my legs were starting to ache from the lack of movement.

Starting a good habit is tough, with stops and restarts, good days and bad, and not so successful attempts until you find what works.  Then day after day, week after week, you practice the discipline of not just thinking about it or talking about it or dreaming it, but really getting up each day and making it happen.

It’s finding a way to make exercise a reality and cutting that beloved Coca Cola from my daily diet.

It’s setting aside that time to walk and pray.  It’s carving out just 15 minutes at least to sit down in the quiet of God’s Word and His presence.

It’s choosing to put the clothes away when they’re clean rather than let them hide in the dryer for a day or two or three ….or the next time you do laundry.

It’s walking away from Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter instead of losing an hour or two or three….

This is all discipline.  At first it aches to begin.  The pain of those first faltering steps may make you want to quit.

But when you’ve persevered and now it’s habit and part of what your everyday life is like ….then it aches to stop.

Sometimes we treat that time with Jesus as such a burdensome, difficult thing.  How do you fit it in?  How do you avoid the distractions of telephone–and children?  How do you get interested in these Ancient Words?

But then that time with Him is so sweetly life-giving and we ache, not from the doing, but from the not doing.   That’s what happens when my quiet time gets pushed back and back in my day until I’ve managed to cram in activity and I’m exhausted and grumpy.

My soul is aching for my Savior and protesting my lack of time with Him.

I’m reminded this week of the Psalmist, who expressed that longing for His God more perfectly beautiful and true than anything else I’ve ever read:

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1)

This week, if you haven’t established the discipline of time with Him, I urge you to make it happen.  It’ll never just magically occur on it’s own. You have to choose Jesus.

And if you’ve let it get crowded out of your life, if it’s slowly been pushed away, pay attention to the aching of your longing soul and start the discipline afresh.

And if it’s part of your life without question or fail, keep it up, my friend!  Even when it’s hard or quiet, remain steadfast.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King