Genesis 24:40 (NKJV)
40 But he said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my family and from my father’s house.
One of the benefits of photography as a hobby, for me, is that it "forces" me to stop and look. I can be pretty oblivious to the things (and, sinfully, people) around me unless I have something that disciplines me to notice what's going on. I think this is a general characteristic of "focused" people, those who are task oriented or "idea" oriented. It has its good points of course. Not being aware of distractions helps avoid them and when there is something important at stake this helps a great deal. But let's face it, most of the "stuff" that we are doing is not all that important in the long run and being unduly "focused" can cause us to miss out on some of the good things that are about us.
Photography, like fishing I suppose, though no one will ever mistake me for a fisherman, requires a certain amount of patience. The gut instinct is to sling the camera up and snap away at anything and everything. But, as in fishing (I imagine) the joy of photography is to "find" the right spot... or to discover the image that is "there." What this means for me is that I cannot be in a hurry... I must walk around a bit... notice the lighting and the background and try to "see" it.
My working rule is: "there is an image wherever I am, I just have to see it." One could call this "image-awareness". In the Scriptures it's sometimes described as "having eyes to see."
This particular image, though technically the shutter speed was a bit too slow, kind of illustrates what I mean. The fountain was "nice" but not particularly spectacular. It's setting in downtown Salt Lake City didn't provide the best back ground in the world but I was drawn to it by its general symmetry and calming spirit. I tried several different perspectives but overall... it was just "blah." But then this lady walked by... right into the frame and there it was.
She is a lady on a mission. Her purposeful stride, intent expression, and swinging arms clearly distinguish her from any wandering tourist. Whatever it was that drew me to that fountain had no immediate effect on her. She was oblivious to it in anything more than the most casual sense. Her eyes are fixed on what is ahead... and her thoughts seem narrowly confined to that.
Thinking about this prompts me to ponder the whole idea of walking "before the Lord" which Abraham's servant remembers as his master's words. Like the fountain, the Lord is there. We walk "before" Him and He is never absent from our surroundings, yet we can be so focused on whatever task, or destination, or idea, or whatever else happens to concern us at the moment, that we just don't notice.
This woman may have walked past this fountain a thousand times. For her it might be "old hat." But, doesn't that really mean that she just isn't noticing it? Nothing around us is ever really the same as it was. The light changes... the skies may be a bit more blue today... the variations are endless. Seeing "what's there" involves the discipline of looking. The same can be said of walking "before the Lord." If we are Christians then we have been given the "equipment", the "eyes" if you will, to see Him in our surroundings... to sense His presence... to gain perspective on His will. Where this becomes important is exactly in our daily walk.
The Christian life is not just a series of isolated, disjointed, spiritual experiences. We don't just go from one spiritual "thing" to the next with some neutral or unspiritual interval separating them. Everyone lives in the presence of God because He is not far from any of us. However not everyone has eyes to see and ears to hear Him. Those of us who do... those of us who through His grace have been born again... are without excuse however. It is His will and it is a pathway for our blessing, to know that we walk in His presence... that we are ever "before Him" and that nothing in our lives is irrelevant to His purposes or His concern.
Seeing Him in our daily life is accomplished by the spiritual discipline of "looking" or "seeking" for Him in it. It means pausing on occasion and kind of "walking around" whatever is going on or wherever we are, in order to gain perspective. It means noticing the nuances of events, conversations, experiences and noticing how they form patterns, rainbows of color, shades of differences. The result is a form of "pleasure." Even in tough times, seeing the truth of God present in those things, comforts and sustains us and communicates a "pleasant" relief or satisfaction or however you want to describe it.
It's like taking the time to find the image that you know is there... and then having it come together. "That's nice" we think and a warm response of gratitude springs up in us.
Thus it is with walking "before the Lord." He's there... like that fountain... and though He is the same, from everlasting to everlasting, yet every day He is fresh and new. Everyday there is something to notice and learn and communicate.
An old hymn says "Take time to be Holy... speak oft with thy Lord..." That's really not much different than what I am saying here. Walking in holiness is nothing more or nothing less than walking, consciously "before Him." His Spirit enables us to do so... His command is that we are to do it... and the result is inevitably our well-being ("pleasure").
So... here we have another day which the Lord has made... let us rejoice and be glad in it.