Have you ever had one of those moments? When you got THE news you had been waiting for? THE opportunity you had worked long and hard toward? THE break of a lifetime?
I have recently, and it caught me totally by surprise. It’s the oddest thing. You believed in the promise, but now that you’re holding the confirmation, it doesn’t quite seem real. You look again, just for confirmation. Yep, it’s real.
What do you do? Well, you smile and your heart races and you have the sudden urge to tell your friends. If no one is around, you post it on Facebook. Lotsa friends there. People are happy for you. They congratulate you.
But after the moment of initial elation, things start to settle. You hold the thing just a little bit closer, feel its warmth, it’s life. It looks up at you as if to say, “I’m yours. Now what?”
This moment is especially vivid for me having just been mesmerized by the cover art on this month’s (the January-February 2014 edition) of the Upper Room Magazine. It literally stopped me in my tracks. A bearded man clutching a small, swaddled child to his breast. The two are awash in a map of the world. Beaming from the child’s blanket is a point of light.
The look on the man’s face, is it joy or is it pain? The artist himself calls it “ecstasy.” This is Simeon, the priest in the temple when Mary and Joseph brought their baby boy to “do what was customary under the law.”
What must that moment have looked like? What does it feel like to hold the Son of God in your arms? The second chapter of Luke tells us…
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.” Now, he could be dismissed in peace.
Complete and utter joy. Simeon had waited his whole life for this moment. But, the look on his face, is it joy or pain? Because these moments are just that, moments. You can only stand and revel in your Facebook congratulations so long, then you have to do something.
Simeon told the child’s parents what he knew of what was ahead for this child. That was both good news and bad. And that’s the way with moving ahead into whatever comes. It’s not all good. But you can’t stay in the glory. You’ve got to get to work. This gift is not for holding or hoarding, it’s for using and sharing.
So, you take a step. Perhaps a tiny step. Or maybe in your enthusiasm you take a giant leap, waving your new book contract above your head screaming, “Lookie here! I’m gonna be published!”
Some people dance and sing for you, saying, “Now you made it! Congratulations, I knew you could do it!” They figure that all that’s left is the coasting. Sit back and let the royalties roll on in. Not so fast.
Other people, those more in the know, look you straight in the eye and say, “Now that the miracle has been delivered, what will you do with it?”
Holding a miracle flings open every door in the house. The wind howls in the hallway. The curtains start flapping. Everything that’s not nailed down takes flight. God’s that big. You are that fortunate. The weight of that moment is huge. Good thing, because otherwise you would be swept up in the whirlwind, too.
Instead, you hold it close, feel it nestle against you, it’s heart beating strong and true. It looks up at you in total trust. The eyes look back at you, big and brown and soft and somehow intense. You look down, trying to reassure it, reassure him, even as all around you the ideas and the opportunities spin. Dizzying, if it weren’t for your focus. Hold on!
What do you do when you’ve been given the one thing you’ve always wanted – a crowning achievement, glory itself?
Embrace it. Nurture it. Go for it.
“Use what you have in your hands. It’s mine. It’s me. It’s ours.”