DayBreaks for 12/31/15: Here Everything is Extraordinary
Extraordinary. It’s rather a strange expression. It almost seems to me that rather than describing something that is superior to the ordinary, it would be saying that something is rather even more ordinary than usual. But that’s not how we use the word. We use it to describe something super-ordinary, above and beyond that which is normal. I’ve had days (sadly, far too few!) when my golf game was extraordinary (at least for me!) I’ve seen places of extraordinary beauty – like Glacier National Park or the back country of Yosemite, Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. I’ve heard extraordinary music – like a Bach organ recital in the University Chapel at Stanford University. Some people are possessed of extraordinary talent in medicine, science, sports or music. We are drawn to extraordinary things as a general rule, because they impress us and inspire us.
Listen to these words: “I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a mere man. Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and his will confounds me. Between him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a being by himself. One can absolutely find nowhere but in him alone the imitation or the example of his life. I search in vain in history to find a [being] similar to Jesus Christ, or anything which can approach the gospel. Neither history, nor humanity, nor the ages, nor nature offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here everything is extraordinary.”
Those words were spoken by Napoleon Bonaparte during a conversation with one of his generals while he was in exile on St. Helena. There are on record other remarkable things that Napoleon said about Christ. It is almost certain that he became a Christian during his days of exile.
I’m sure that we believe that in heaven everything will be extraordinary. In fact, there will be nothing about heaven that is “ordinary”, I don’t believe. But when we get so fixated on heaven as the goal and only see this worldly life as “ordinary”, I think we’ve missed out on something truly wonderful. Wherever Jesus is, it is holy ground. Wherever He goes, it is truly changed from an ordinary place to an extraordinary one. The top of the mount of transfiguration was just a mountaintop until Jesus went there and then it became a place shining with the glory of God.
I don’t know where my paths, or yours, will take us in the coming year. But I do know this: I want to see more of the extraordinariness that accompanies Jesus, and since he always is with us, that means that wherever we go, we should see and wonder and marvel in how he changes things and transforms the ordinary into the sublime.
TODAY’S PRAYER: God, we pray for your power to help open our eyes to the incredible wonder that surrounds us and the even greater Wonder that is always with us. Forgive us for thinking that what You have made can ever be anything except extraordinary. Let us bear witness to your wonder and greatness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.