Visiting the Grand Cayon during my sabbatical was amazing. The day was beautiful and warm, with very few, if any, clouds. It was going to be a great day to visit the canyon.
We arrived, parked the car in one of the parking lots, and made our way to the visitor center. We then walked around for a while, looking over, down, and around along with everyone else. Crowds of people were there taking in all the beautiful views of God’s creation.
As we stood there, gazing into the distance, trying to see what was on the other side of the canyon, I said to my friend, “Hey, we should walk around this!” His response was, “It’s over 200 miles around,” which was news to me. I tried to conceptualize how far 200 miles would be. I knew from my home in Bloomington that Indianapolis was less than 60 miles away and Kokomo was less than 120.
Needless to say, I was not in the mood for a 200-mile walk! Although, for some strange, unexplainable reason, I started wondering, “Hmm…what would it take to make that walk?” I started making a list in my mind, “I’d need a tent, some water…” Then, realizing how crazy it was even to think bout that, I put the thought out of my mind.
Later I discovered that the Grand Canyon is actually 300 miles in circumference. That would have been quite the walk. It would take 6 hours, driving at 60 MPH in order to make it around the Grand Canyon. In total, you can fit the state of Rhode Island into the Canyon. No wonder they named it the GRAND Canyon. No creativity there. We just call it as we see it, I guess.
I was reminded of the Grand Canyon and how wide and long it was as I read Psalm 81. In Psalm 81, the psalmist calls Israel to worship, sing, and play instruments, giving praise to God, because it was a regulation set when God attacked Egypt to set Israel free.
Then, interestingly, the psalmist writes that he heard an “unknown” voice (81:5). This voice reminded Israel of what had been done to free them. In verse 10, God reveals that he is behind the voice by saying, “It was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt.”
Also in verse 10, God gives an amazing promise: “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.” Let that sink into your soul. “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.” One image that came to my mind was a nest of hungry birds, mouths wide open, looking up to their mother who fills their mouths with good things that help them grow and become strong enough to fly.
According to the psalm, Israel wasn’t listening to God. They wanted to go their own way and do their own thing. As you read the psalm, you sense how much God wanted Israel to listen to him. His desire was to give them good things. Yet, they wouldn’t listen. They wouldn’t open their mouths so that he could fill them. How can someone, anyone, give someone else good things, when that person refuses to receive them? According to the Psalm, that was God’s situation.
What if God wants to fill our lives with good things? What if God’s desire is to bless? This Psalm makes that case. God wants to bless. God wants to fill your life with good things.
This Psalm asks me the question, Is your mouth open wide? Or, in other words, Is your life open and receptive to what God wants to do? Or, are you living life on your own terms? Are you attempting to find and secure your own “blessings” or what you think will bring blessing to your life? Are you listening to God, really listening? Or, have you already made up your mind on what “good” is and are busily pursuing that “good” and don’t really have time, or desire, to know what good God desires for you?
The temptation to disregard God in pursuit of our “good” keeps us from discovering the truly good. God knows us better than we even know ourselves and God knows good. Those things we believe are good and we fixate our lives on, usually never pan out the way we want or think they will. Instead, those “good” things promise much but deliver little.
I’ve come to realize that the blessings I secure for myself pale in comparison to what God wants to give to me. He tells me to open wide and be filled with Godly goodness!
What if the goodness we receive from God is proportional to how wide we open ourselves up to God? What if, as we widen ourselves, becoming more and more open to God, we are filled with more and more good things from God’s hand?
May your life be like the Grand Cayon, open and wide, so that God can pour good things into you!