Scenic overlooks. Signs are posted to alert drivers to the fact that there is something worth seeing up ahead. Whether it's a panoramic ridge of towering mountains with a breathtaking valley below, or a million dollar, sparkling ocean view, the signs beckon us to slow down and stop, in order to marvel at something amazing.
Of all the vacation destinations I've been privileged to enjoy, I don't recall a state with more scenic turn-outs than Hawaii. Not too surprising when you consider that it's a tropical, volcanic island surrounded by incredibly blue ocean waters. As we made our way around the island over the course of our stay, the numerous scenic turn-outs invited us to slow our pace and bask in the beauty of God's creation.
Sights and sounds tantalized our senses. Rugged beauty pointed unmistakably to a Master Artist. The glorious surf pounding the volcanic outcroppings threatened to soak us, but the Master Designer was in control. I was reminded of King Solomon's words, "When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth" (Proverbs 8:29, KJV). Even the ocean obeys His command! The disciples experienced this one.
Remember the time Jesus and his followers were crossing the sea and a sudden storm threatened to capsize them? Was Jesus alarmed? He was fast asleep. In a panic, the disciples woke Him up and begged Him to save them from their plight. "Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him" (Matthew 8:26b-27)! I believe the disciples and I came to the same conclusion, His power is unequaled!
Back at our scenic turnout, the roaring of the waves made it necessary for us to shout to one another in order to be heard. Yet even their noise is a whisper compared to our God. "The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea" (Psalm 93:4).
Another overlook boasted one of God's incredible creatures, the whale. Just to see evidence that these magnificent animals were directly under the surface of the water was captivating. As they came close the surface of the water, their blow holes would send spray shooting several feet into the air. But nothing could compare to seeing them launch themselves out of the water, landing with an enormous splash! Talk about poetry in motion!
Just as scenic overlooks beckon us to come take a closer look, God orchestrates what Beth Moore refers to as 'God stops' in our lives. Opportunities designed especially for us to come aside, and see His majesty, to catch a fresh glimpse of His work. Recently, as I prayed specifically and expectantly over something in my life, I was rewarded with a 'God stop' moment. My part was simply to bring my need to Him, knowing He would answer according to His will and in His timing. Keeping my eyes open to see Him work. He indeed provided a 'God stop' - one that occurred in a way I wasn't expecting. Although I couldn't see it, God was already working in the situation that I was praying over. God's ways are definitely not our ways! The prophet Isaiah sums it up, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8).
Along life's journey, are we too focused on our destination that we miss the 'God stops' He's intended for us along the way? Think about Moses. He'd been on the backside of the desert tending sheep for close to forty years. He was minding his own business when the Lord provided an amazing 'God stop.' A burning bush that wasn't consumed. In this incredible encounter, not only was Moses called to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, but Moses also came to know God in a deeper way. God revealed Himself as "I AM THAT I AM," a name He hadn't previously used (Exodus 3:14).
Think about it: Moses could have ignored the bush and gone about his business tending his father-in-law's sheep. Instead, he responded to God, "I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt" (Exodus 3:3). God saw Moses' desire and rewarded Him greatly!
The 'God stops' designed just for me, will help me to draw closer to Him and praise Him for His goodness. Will I be too busy about my business that I ignore the 'God stop'? Or will I choose to 'turn aside' as Moses did, to hear from God? I choose to keep my eyes and ears open to the voice of the Holy Spirit beckoning me to experience the 'God stops' He has for me today! What about you?
Have you experienced a 'God stop' recently? I'd love to hear about it!