I went up to Clemson this past weekend. Clemson just breeds awesomeness. I have always been an avid people watcher/learner. There is this strange, immense amount of joy that comes from seeing other people experience just an ounce of happiness. Now that I’ve been a graduate and away for 4 months, it seems as if the ability to observe people and vividly comprehend & appreciate their uniqueness has magnified.
After the Clemson-South Carolina game, some friends and I were journeying by foot back to our car and were reminded of just how crazy traffic is after games. Especially night games! While downtown we could see a far-out view of all the cars in traffic ahead of us. It reminded me of something C.S. Lewis once wrote. He compared the concept of “the traffic flow of vehicles on roads” to “God’s creation of the flow of rivers”. Now this gets beautiful when it’s fully thought about. We just need to practice the fun, vivid Christian imagination that we all have. Christianity is never meant to be boring. It is meant to be repeatedly awe-inspiring.
Here’s what I mean. We are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
Anything true of the “whole” will be true of the “part”. So if the entire Pacific Ocean is salt water, taking a small bucket of water from the Pacific Ocean will contain salt water. The purpose, meaning, and direction of the universe will be seen inside of what each of us do everyday. Any subset of the universe that God has created (i.e. people, rivers, trees, clouds, passions, video games, high school proms) will have some qualities and/or desires similar to that of God.
We create things because we were created by The Ultimate Creator. Creativity, imagination, and beauty are God’s imageness in us. God is the master architect of creation. So since he created us, we display his qualities (even in things we create ourselves). People invented cars and even this can show traces of God’s influence. If you look closely at cars moving together in a pack, they mimic a natural river flowing on its own water-path. My friends and I were literally able to look at the traffic in front of us collectively acting as if it were a calm-flowing river. I for sure need to wake up and open my eyes more.
Not only do we create, but we also constantly exalt (i.e. glorify, praise, honor, rejoicing) things because we were created to give glory to God (Isaiah 43:7, Matt 5:16, 1 Peter 2:12, Habakkuk 2:14). During the football game this Saturday, I couldn’t help but notice this and laugh. By just taking some time to closely observe things around me the joy of everything was seen.
There were a number of girls with their arms tightly wrapped around their boyfriend’s arm due to the cold weather. That brings a certain type of honor to her boyfriend. It shows an appreciation for him and what he can provide.
Similarly, I can watch my guy friends that may have girlfriends whenever that girlfriend is around them. Some of the guys…I can see it in their eyes, just in the subtle ways they look at their girlfriend when she is not even noticing. It’s as if they aren’t looking at her in a physical sense, but looking at her soul. They are involuntarily rejoicing in the fact that they are in love with the soul of their girlfriend. Now my one favorite couple….. it really is all over his eyes when he looks at her. As plain as day. You can see joy, love, worry, and passion all at once in his eyes.
Friends that haven’t seen each other in a long time joyfully yell each other’s names in unison and hug before/after the game. Sometimes being so noticeably overwhelmed that everyone around them stops and looks.
Strangers sitting next to each other automatically are unified friends because they share a common bond. They give high fives when things go well. When they’re sad because Tahj Boyd got sacked…they’re sad together.
In a broader way, we can look at the 80,000 Clemson fans yelling and screaming for a victory, bringing glory to the football team. All the while we can look up above the stadium into the night sky and witness something more intricate. The infinite number of bright stars, in their own uniqueness, scream for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 15:41, Psalm 19:1). It’s a funny irony though: how as we cheer for our football team, the stars in sky are simultaneously cheering for our Heavenly Father (Romans 1:20). They’re picking up our slack as we cheer for a little football game.
Clemson will sometimes loose and let us down. Boyfriends will many times be dummies. Girlfriends have cooties ALWAYS. Friends will let us down. Strangers come and go. Cars will eventually die on us and end up in junkyards. But our holy & perfect God, so focused on the glorification of himself and of Jesus Christ through the fulfillment of the work done on the cross…never fails. He wins. And he loves us. We rejoice in that and put our hope in it. That is why Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
So let His name be lifted higher and higher by us. The rivers and our own man-made cars are already lifting his name high. The stars are doing the same. ALL of creation was meant to do so. Focusing on Christ will always guide us into more joy.