Drawing My Own Mushroom

by DanWolgemuth on September 15, 2017

Kellen is a seven-year-old. He’s the bright and inquisitive grandson of my twin sister.

Last week Kellen, his parents and his two siblings stayed at our home for several days. During the course of his visit, Mary tapped her “grandma resources” and introduced Kellen to our Hidden Picture book collection. These are essentially workbooks that hide pictures within a picture. At the bottom of each page there is a catalog of what hidden pictures exist in the drawing.

We’ve discovered that these inexpensive books provide hours of entertainment for children. Kellen was no exception. He dove into the assignment at hand and thoughtfully surveyed the primary picture in order to discover the hidden images cloaked in obscurity.

While in conversation with Kellen the next day, Mary inquired about his success in sleuthing out the hidden pictures. Kellen happily reported that he had discovered all of the hidden images, but then matter of factly he announced that he only completed the task by drawing in the mushroom and the goose. He simply couldn’t find them otherwise, so he took control. He constructed his own solution.

Kellen’s admission fueled laughter for a number of us. Yet, as the laughter waned, I couldn’t help but draw a less humorous comparison in my own life.

Often life provides difficult and perplexing questions. Hurricanes, illness, suffering, injustice…

Navigating to a soul satisfying answer to questions like these can be difficult, time consuming and faith engaging.

Frankly, sometimes it seems easier to just draw my own answer. I can draw a mushroom here and a goose there, just to alleviate the tension of an undiscovered solution. I’ve got it. I can manage it. It fits for me… but is it true? Is it right and righteous?

If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 AMP)

Without rebuke. With patience. Generously.

Are you looking diligently for truth in the middle of the clutter and chaos? Faithfulness is enough. Grace upon grace. Always and only anchored in the irrevocable promises of God’s love, His care, His power, His mercy, His justice… the picture comes into focus.

No shortcuts. No personal penmanship. No mushrooms or geese.

Confidence in God.

He’s with you. He knows you. He loves you. Hidden pictures exposed.

Waiting. Trusting. Jesus.

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Eclipsed

by DanWolgemuth on August 25, 2017

He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy

When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are

And how great Your affections are for me
And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us all…
(David Crowder, How He Loves)

Afflictions eclipsed.

By glory.

August 21st, 2017. The eclipse.

Mary and I sat on the back deck of our Subaru Outback in an open field. Tailgate up, coffee in hand… we swapped a single pair of eclipse glasses. The description sounds like something out of the 60’s. And yes, it was a moment. A sweet and memorable moment.

At 11:47am in Aurora, Colorado it seemed as though everything was eclipsed by glory. Everything.

The precision of the moment whispered His name. Predictability wasn’t boring, it was magnificent. Scientists and hotel operators alike counted on the fact that the moon would jaywalk between the sun and the earth on August 21st.

Cash registers clanged (alright, I know that doesn’t happen anymore, but…), prices soared, t-shirts were stamped, daily programming was interrupted… and afflictions were eclipsed… by glory.

On a planet filled with chaos, God showed up on time. The helter skelter of life was preempted with the magnanimous order of the galaxy.

Headlines don’t eclipse afflictions.  Personal wealth and power don’t eclipse afflictions.  Health and beauty don’t. Fame and recognition don’t.  Only and always glory. God’s matchless glory.

Hundreds of millions of people stopped. Hundreds of millions of people looked up. Hundreds of millions of people witnessed a cameo appearance by the Creator. He showed up on time. He always does.

Order.

Billions of stars. Galaxies beyond description. The cosmos beyond comprehension.

And from the back of my Subaru I had a front row seat to the glory that eclipsed affliction. Problems didn’t disappear, they were simply overshadowed. Literally.

God spoke in the language of His orderly and dependable creation. Glory leveled everything. Glory showed up on both sides of the tracks. Glory beamed on the powerful and infirm. Everything seemed wonderfully small, except what God was orchestrating.

God is love, but He’s not to be trifled with. He’s compassionate, and He’s just.

Afflictions.

Eclipsed.

By glory.

In planetariums and open fields… eclipsed.

Open your calendar now. 2024. April 8th (on what will be our 46th wedding anniversary) another total eclipse across the United States.

But make no mistake… every single day reflects His glory. At 6:23am the sun rose. It didn’t get stuck in traffic. It didn’t oversleep. It wasn’t distracted by the Internet. It showed up. And with it, one more vivid reminder. God is awesome. And His glory alone eclipses.

Everything.

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Impaired

August 23, 2017

It was a year ago that I completely ruptured my hamstring. I won’t go into the unpleasant details, but by mid-September I was in an operating room and all the way through this past February I was in physical therapy. The gap in time before surgery created an issue that both complicated the procedure and […]

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Dial-tone

August 11, 2017
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240 middle school students filed out of the Club Room at Sunstream Camp in Odgen, Iowa in silence. They had just been riveted to every word that Jarell Roach (J-Roach) had communicated about brokenness, confession, forgiveness, restoration and hope. It was time to reflect and respond. It was time to consider and declare.  It was […]

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A Plea For More

August 4, 2017

(The following is an encore Fragment.  Although written and published some time ago, I hope that it refreshes your soul today.) “Do you see anything?”  And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.”  (Mark 8:23, 24) Jesus’ encounter with the blind man at Bethsaida looks an awful lot […]

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At the Trailhead of Wow

July 28, 2017
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“A life-changing hike…” Those are the exact words extracted from the “National Parks of America” book that I gave to Mary for Christmas. The words wrap around the description of the Highline Trail at Glacier National Park in Montana. They are part of an invitation to drive on the breathtaking “Going to the Sun” Road […]

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Loving Jesus-Style

July 20, 2017

(The following is an encore Fragment.  Although written and published some time ago, I hope that it refreshes your soul today.) I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do […]

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One of Those Days

July 14, 2017

(The following is an encore Fragment.  Although written and published some time ago, I hope that it refreshes your soul today.) On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem.  And the power […]

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Yes, Again

July 7, 2017

The day was an amazing collection of sounds and smells and tastes. Emotion pulsed through every moment, through every memory, through every dream. Promises cascaded with clarity and confidence. Mike and Cheryl were celebrating, but they were doing significantly more than that. July 5, 1977. Cheryl, a seventeen-year-old. Mike, just slightly older. An unscripted beginning. […]

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“The Queen City of the North”

June 30, 2017
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Ah, yes. Virginia, Minnesota. The Mesabi Range. Iron ore. Three hours north of Minneapolis and an hour northwest of Duluth. But it wasn’t iron ore that interested me in Virginia. It was the birth of a 7 pound 11 ounces girl on June 27th that changed the trajectory of my life. Nearly eight hours from […]

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