four attributes of god
by Rick Anderson
That summer, God taught me numerous lessons. The real good part is that God was teaching me and kept with me and at me all summer showing me good things that, later in life like now, I could recall and maybe put to some use. The bad part is that it took more than 20 plus years for the lessons to sink in if they have sunk in at all. I also learned that it wasn’t some cranky old Texan named Doug who was giving me these lessons, but the Lord who was teaching me. I learned later in life that God doesn’t give me the appearance of a burning bush or a pillar of fire when He teaches me something. No, God works with me by bringing me to people, or people to me just when I need them to get down a path that He is having me walk. Sometimes the path is a hard one, sometimes it’s a lonely one, but every path I take God is there guiding me and teaching me.
On one particular morning, Doug came up to me and said he wanted me to take a plane ride with him. We got into his Piper Super Cub, a small 2-seater airplane that could land and take off in a baseball field. We headed out of the valley over the southern glacier and into a fold on the mountains. Doug explained that we were going to sabotage several meadows in the mountains that other guides were landing on and hunting the sheep that Doug hunted for his customers. There were two meadows and we were going to put up barricades all over them so that no one else could have access to them.
Doug flew me over the two meadows and they were sure pretty. About two hundred yards long and oval in shape, they looked like two eye sockets set between a rocky nose that had a small creek flowing through it. Doug set me down in the farthest meadow and showed me how to build barricades. He then said that he was heading over to the second meadow and for me to meet him there when I was done.
As he took off and headed to the other meadow, I felt lost and alone. I now know how Peter, James, and John felt when Jesus went up in the clouds. Their ride home had just left them. The way to life was gone. I was all alone there. There were few trees and no food. There was no shelter and I had no equipment to last out a night if I didn’t get my work done. But I was given a task, so I got to work.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was warm and pleasant. I worked hard trying to get the meadow blocked as soon as I could. I was a bit frantic because Doug didn’t say when he wanted me to get done. He didn’t mention when he was going to be leaving, so I worked at a feverish pitch to get my chore done and get to the other meadow before Doug got tired of waiting for me and left me behind.
Once I got finished, I started hiking over the hill to get to the other meadow. The walk was over a rocky bridge between the two park-like meadows. I stopped at the top of the ridge to get a drink at a mountain stream that flowed down from the glacier. I took a breather and looked over the valley a bit, but I didn’t tarry very long because I didn’t know when Doug would be leaving and that plane was one flight I didn’t want to miss.
As I broke over the other side of the ridge I could see the meadow and the work Doug had done. There was still some work to be finished and I could see the plane, but I couldn’t see Doug. I started walking faster until I came to the plane. Still no Doug. I went up the hill a bit so I could see the meadow better and still, I could not find Doug. Now I was getting worried. I had the plane to take me home, but the pilot was absent without leave. My stomach did a couple back flips and I started gulping real loud. I called out for Doug, but there was no answer. Man, I tell you, that meadow was getting lonelier by the minute.
Then I saw him. Coming down from the top of the mountain was Doug. The pilot was coming towards me, to get me. And, finally, after more than two decades, I understand what I was taught that day.
Doug came down to get me. In the same way, Jesus also came down to get me. It took me a long time to get this one, but when Doug came down that mountain to talk to me and to take me home, he was showing me what the Lord had already done for me. GOD CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN TO GET THE LOST.
In John Ch 3:9-15, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus: “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven - the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
My pastor says all the time that Jesus would have come down for me even if I were the only person on the planet. Well, in that valley on that day, I was the only one there and He came for me. It makes it personal, very, very personal what The Lord has done just to get me. Most of my life I had believed in Jesus. I knew He was God’s son and that He died and rose again. But later in my life, when the impact of Doug walking down the mountain toward me finally got through my thick skull, I realized that Jesus didn’t just do this for the crowd, for you-all, or for some faceless bunch of people. No. He did this for me, and for you, but on a personal and individual level.
When Doug got to me, I had lots of questions for him, such as: Where was he? What was he doing? When were we going home? Doug’s answer was the second lesson that God taught me that day. For Doug said, “I was watching you.”
GOD WATCHES AND CONTEMPLATES
Psalm 33:13-15 says : “From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do”
Doug was keeping his eye on me, watching over me from heights above. In much the same way, Jesus watches over us from heaven and searches our hearts and minds to bring us closer to His will.
Doug said he had been watching me, saw I was a hard worker and kept my nose to the grindstone. He saw that I kept at a task, which he liked, but one thing he didn’t like. He didn’t like that I didn’t take my time at the task and enjoy where I was. It appeared to him that I was not looking around and smelling the roses so to speak. He said that I needed to learn to take more time and enjoy my surroundings since I would never be here again. Boy, did he have me nailed! Most of my life I have been the type to work hard at a task at hand and not stop to smell the roses, or take my time just enjoying where I am. I have always been in a hurry to get finished and move on to the next assignment, task, or challenge.
Proverbs 19:20 says: “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.”
Boy, I really wish I had listened. So many times since then I have been in places where patience would have really saved me some hard, hard lessons and heartache.
I told Doug that he hadn’t said when he would be leaving the area and I wanted to get finished quickly so I wasn’t left behind. I sometimes wonder if that is how I feel where the Lord is concerned. Or how the new church felt. Trying to get everything done before the Lord returns so they won’t get left behind. But again, God was teaching me and He wasn’t giving up on me. For Doug said, “I will not leave you behind.”
Acts 1:9-11 says: “After he said this, he was taken up, before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee” they said, “why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
God told me, through Doug, that He would not leave me behind. He would come and take me home. Home to be with Him forever. And that was a concern of mine later in my life, that the Lord would not come and take me home to be with Him. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it was the subtle lies of the enemy getting to me, or that, somehow, I didn’t think I had believed in my heart enough, or confessed with my mouth that Jesus was my Lord and my Life. But somehow, over the years I thought I was going to be left stranded when He came back to get his sheep. And so, many years later, the Lord brought my memory back and replayed that last statement of Doug’s for me over and over. “I will not leave you behind, now let’s go home and get dinner.” And that’s just where I want to go, home to the Lord and sit down at his table, the banquet table of the Lamb.