Published: October 14, 2023
Updated: November 5, 2023
Every week brings something different to each one of us. As I sit down to write these thoughts, the news tells me that a huge group of people--1 million--are being told to evacuate, and do it immediately! That is so hard to imagine! I am trying to place myself in that position. How would I do it? Where would I go? What should I take with me? What is truly important? I cannot understand how moving 1 million people with no safe place to really go is even possible but if they don't go, then the risk of being caught in the middle of a war is probably what will happen next. And from my perspective, it seems that perhaps many have already experienced what war can do to innocent people. It is all so sad. So many hurts because of hatred for one group of people. Retaliation for something, whether right or wrong, is not right. God alone should have that left to Him--to decide the judgment for what is happening. There is no question that in the long past, God directly communicated His judgments and sometimes ordered wicked people killed in times of war. He who is omniscient has the knowledge to make that call. Humans generally only see one side of conflict. I pray that there will be Sabbath calm in an area that has had people keeping Sabbath Holy for thousands of years. May they remember why they keep Sabbath holy and why they worship the God of Heaven.
This week our attention was drawn to God, our wonderful Creator. My husband was thrilled to find a 4" praying mantis lurking in our garden. He watched it as it in turn was obviously watching him, turning its head to see what was happening next. I confess to having never seen a praying mantis like that in our part of Iowa. Our world continues to change. There are geological records that show that our world is in constant change as directed by the One in Control. Yet God says He doesn't change. We can trust Him to always guide and direct.
We found God in so many other things that we noticed this past week. When there were more reports of devastating earthquakes, we remembered that earthquakes and war and rumors of war are signs that Jesus will soon return to take us to a better home. The need for new glasses made me remember that then our bodies will be changed and there will be no need for glasses and I will not have a sore ear from glasses rubbing my ear in a different way than with the old ones. I will never again have to dread the vision test in order to get a new driver's license. I will not have to have trouble waiting in line for my turn and knowing that I cannot do that wait. I had to find a place to sit to relieve the pain of "standing too long." I long for the time when my body is changed and I can comfortably stand in line--maybe waiting to personally greet my Jesus. The ID picture will not look as it does now. I know I will not find fault with the changes that God has in store for me.
This week our real live mouse trap--our Miss Kitty--did what she is designed to do! She caught a mouse! A mouse in our house! A mouse that should have stayed outdoors where it belonged. We are happy that the mouse got caught finally even though it had been avoiding our sticky trap. While this has made us happy, still we were saddened that sin made it necessary for the mouse to die. We were reminded that sin made it necessary for Jesus to die in our place.
This week I experienced the fear of falling/failing! My fall of last week has made me fear falling again. It has refreshed my memory of another very bad fall and I cannot do those activities now without remembering that I have to be extra careful or I might fall/fail again. I imagine that I am not the only one to experience a memory of a fail--fall. Sometimes we fear failing in a school subject. Or fear starting a new job. I fear what the doctor will tell me about my blood pressure and that fear makes it go higher! We fear telling someone about Jesus and our relationship with him. We fail and then we are hesitant to try again. I need trust to let go and let God keep me from falling--failing!
I have a plant in my collection of patio/houseplants that I enjoy just because it has unique leaves. The threat of frost and freeze made me bring in some of the plants that had enjoyed a vacation outdoors this summer. This plant I love had a flower on it this week. It has never done it before and I appreciate the uniqueness and creativity that God had when he was creating our world. Heading out to renew my driver's license, we drove past a tree and then had to back up to observe this tree again. We had seen some birds in the tree that we had to go back to see again and try to figure out what we had actually seen. It turned out that we were seeing about 7 or 8 pheasants that had roosted in the tree overnight. It seemed odd to us. We had never thought about pheasants roosting in trees. It was the size of the birds that got our attention but then we wanted to know if this was really a strange phenomenon or just something normal. Turns out, we learned something about God's creation that we probably should have known about. God is such a creative creator and we continually are learning--just as we will do throughout eternity.
Sabbath, October 28 is designated on our Church's yearly calendar as Creation Sabbath. Once every seven days, an estimated 25 to 30 million members and guests of the Seventh-day Adventist Church gather for weekly worship on the day referred to as the Sabbath in the Bible — the seventh day of the week. Exodus 20:11-- “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (NKJV). So, if the weekly observance of the Sabbath is prescribed as a memorial of Creation week, why will Adventists around the world mark a specific “Creation Sabbath” on October 28 this year? The answer is in a 2009 proposal, to respond to the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species. Since the time of this recommendation, Creation Sabbath has become an annual observance, part of the world church’s yearly calendar. The special day allows believers to refocus on what is behind every weekly Sabbath. Every Sabbath is a ‘creation Sabbath,’ that’s what God gave it to us for, but as human beings, it’s very easy [for us] to become distracted by other things.This is a way to refocus as a church, to remind ourselves why we have a Sabbath, [and] our Creator has set aside time for us to be together. One way we can present the argument for the Bible’s view of origins is to focus on the beauty in the world. Charles Darwin lost the ability to appreciate the beauty of art, poetry, and nature itself because of his evolutionary research. But we can look forward to the new Creation with beauty restored, and we can look forward to it with great anticipation.
There were 7 high Sabbaths celebrated by Israel! Can you name them? I couldn't! They remind how God led in the past and anticipated the coming Messiah. But we don't celebrate these sabbaths today. In fact, we celebrate just a few religious holidays as Adventists, unlike many other Protestants.
Instead, our General Conference has designated one--Creation Sabbath--the 4th Sabbath of October. Sometimes it is very close to October 22, the anniversary of the Great Disappointment of 1844. BUT--we are not people of disappointment. We are Adventists, and learning from past mistakes and we have an optimistic view of the future. Jesus is coming again! And He will make all things new! We can celebrate that we, through God's grace we can become a new creation.
So I invite you to plan ahead to celebrate Creation! And take joy in what remains of His "very good" creation. Anticipate His soon return and the promised new Creation! And look for the small things everyday that show us God is still with us! And will be in the end, despite all the troubles we have now on this current earth.