Each Shining Moment

I often wish I could capture a moment of time in my hand and spend as long as I want soaking it in. The symmetry of geese marking a graceful V in the evening sky, joyous laughter with a friend, a baby’s soft cheek cupped in my palm. I could fill many pages with all the memorable moments God has given me. Each one squeezes my heart with its poignancy even while I am revelling in its gift because I know how fleeting it is.
A camera captures an instant in a two-dimensional image, words on a page attempt to express a heart; artists, musicians, orators — all want to encapsulate a human experience accurately, for that one brief shining moment. Many come close, only to present a mere reflection of the real.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism poses the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” When I experience each shining moment as a gift from God, I am glorifying Him, enjoying Him, thanking Him, even if on a subconscious level. He receives my enjoyment as a thank offering, desiring no monuments made by my hand, only an attitude of praise.
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth,” sings David in Psalm 34. He wrote these words after God rescued him from probable death at the hands of a Philistine king. Even when faced with life-threatening danger, David’s desire is to live a life of total thanksgiving to God, with every breath, every word, every prayer. He recognizes, in this psalm and many others, that God is the source of all good things, making it his life’s aim to live in a perpetual state of gratitude.
 “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces never covered with shame,” David continues. Being thankful in the inner being cannot help but radiate from the outer countenance. We are made for this; it is how we are wired. Have you noticed how certain people have a glow about them, a radiance, not from surface beauty but from some inner joy? They are not ashamed to show uncovered faces shining with thanksgiving for all God has made and done and is.
 “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Think of biting into a ripe, sun-warm peach; the juice running down your chin as your taste buds pop with its intense, delicious flavor. In eight brief words David captures the essence of thanksgiving. It is experiencing God with all our senses, our soul, our spirit; swallowing down the richness offered to us every day. By living in an attitude of thanksgiving we are nourished by His goodness so we can give back to God what He alone deserves … praise and honor and glory and blessing.
Trouble will rob a heart of its gratitude for a while. Questions come — doubt, fear, despair — what was once so easy to give thanks for is shadowed in the presence of pain. In that place there is something to remember. God IS — “for in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) When I’ve been in the dark, remembering that God is with me in my pain gave rise to thanksgiving, however feeble.
In every day there are a myriad of shining moments to be savored and responded to with joy. The heart that beats within me beats a rhythm of thanksgiving to my God. Come —
“Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.”

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