Monday, July 18, 2011
The Sincerest Form of Praise
A few weeks ago, we went to see an illusionist. We had seats in the third row center, about ten feet or so from center stage. We were sure that, from there, we could figure out how he performed his tricks. But, when the curtain opened, the stage was empty, and the first person to walk out was his wife. She welcomed everyone, strolling back and forth, then took hold of a banner-like cloth, about four or five feet high, and drew it quickly across the stage so that we couldn't see anything behind it. As soon as she reached the other side, she dropped the banner to reveal, where the stage had been completely empty a moment before, sat a stunning Lamborghini, a bright red sports car, engine revving, and her husband climbed out.
It looked like it came from nowhere. We knew better, but darn, how in the world did he do that? At the time, the whole experience seemed little more than entertainment, but then today, a song rose in my heart:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.--Psalm 139:14
Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.--Jeremiah 32:17
What You did when you created was no trick. You started with nothing--Adam's lump of clay an unnecessary prop--and turned Your infinitely variable imagination into everything from rising sun to living cell. "Look!" You said. "I did this for you!" And You daily drop the curtain to reveal Your work.
Then You do something else:
This is my prayer--that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that You may be able to discern what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ--Philippians 1:9-10
You reveal Your creation not only for my enjoyment, but for me to share. You put me in a place that reflects You and tell me to see You in it, to become as much like You as I am able. You tell me that patience, kindness, faithfulness, self-control, obedience, submission, and love in my life make me look like You. As I wear these, I not only resemble You, but learn to know You, to become pure and blameless before You.
You want me to imitate You, not so that I flatter You, but so that I understand the magnificence of who You are and what You do. You want me to praise You, and once You drop the curtain, how can I help it?