I can't help but smile every time I see this picture of my granddaughter in all her excitement. Haven't we all been there... when you are just so pumped all you can do is yell "AAHHHHH!!!!" in your loudest, shrillest, most open-your-mouthiest release of personal fortitude!! Well that's how 2018 has been for me.
Our 2018 presentation of Handel's Messiah was again glorious. I think it was a bit more glorious than last year... truly a "Hallelujah" experience and all I felt after the amens was a release of "AAHHHHH!" (but of course, I couldn't as it was a formal concert.) I believe the chorus, soloists and organist all had a touch of Divine as we presented this work. This darn piece of music is so dang hard there is just no way we can get through it without help from God. He showed up and it was accomplished. Praise God! Glory to Him!
The year started out strong with the study of Unbound by Lozano. Reading through this book and walking through the activities is like taking a daily shower of the soul. I was scrubbed in the soap of the Forgiver as so much heavy baggage simply fell off. My daily song was, "Hallelujah" and "AAHHHHH!"
In August, I gave a harp concert at the Leonard Grimes Amphitheater right outside of Marshalltown, Iowa. That was a "Hallelujah" and "AAHHH!" experience if there ever was one.
In September, John and I went on a trip to the Holy Lands with Greater Glory Travel led by our new friends Barb and Jeff Heil. What an experience! We landed in Jerusalem and walked the route of Jesus as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We went to where He was crucified and buried (possibly the place.) We went to Canaan, the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. We went to the Mount of Transfiguration. We went to all those places you read about in the old and new testaments and where Jesus walked and taught and all I could do was say, "Hallelujah" and "AAHHHHH!"
Notice our faces, a fellow traveler's and mine... Every day a touch of Divine followed us.
At the end of the trip, most of our group was baptized in the River Jordan. This was a life-changing touch of the Divine. My reaction: "Hallelujah" and "AAHHHH!"
In October, I started on what I call a 'Dallas Willard Fall.' I started reading the book Life Without Lack written by Dallas Willard's daughter. She took the cassette recordings of a class Dallas taught and made it all into a book. The topic? Psalm 23. I'm quite sure your reaction to reading this book would be the similar to mine: "Hallelujah" and "AAHHHH!" I followed this book with his biography entitled Becoming Dallas Willard. I felt the touch of All-Sufficient Love in both... possibly it was more than a touch... it was probably more like a full body slam....
It wasn't until I received this picture from my daughter that I recognized my reaction to so much of 2018. It's true that I was in the Holy Lands for some of these reactions and frankly, there's nothing like a powerful choir of 42 to bring home the "Hallelujah" in the Hallelujah Chorus. But most of the time, my excitement from the touch from our Father came as I was studying God's Word or reading something that inspired me to seek Him. Times of prayer, both group and personal, spurred His touch. Times of understanding and repentance brought His washing, forgiveness and love. There was no big fanfare in those early morning hours... just God and me... Him speaking... me listening. I was seeking, He answered. I asked, He did more than answer my heart's cry. I knocked, He opened His heart to me.
In conclusion, I pray this Dallas Willard prayer over you, dear Readers. May your 2019 be marked with the touch from our Father so many times that you, too, can only respond with "Hallelujah" and AAHHHH!" Be blessed. Understand God's goodness. Hear God's heart.
This prayer of blessing was in a final video of Dallas Willard right before his death in 2013. It is a remarkable invitation to join in seeking and experiencing the touch of the Divine: