Here He Comes Patiently Prepare
SUBJECT: "HERE HE COMES" – 'PATIENTLY PREPARE'!
SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:22-38
TEXT: "Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him." (Luke 2:25)
INTRODUCTION: There are two sides of the Christian life. There is the Active side of the Christian life. Here we achieve, venture, preach, sing, organize, administer. The other is related to passive side of life. Here we submit, endure, suffer, wait. I propose to you that waiting upon God is usually more difficult than achieving for God! And yet, waiting is all-important, for expectant waiting is necessary if God is to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ to us in new and powerful ways.
CONCLUSION: Simeon and Anna were determined to know God's Son, and therefore they waited patiently and persistently! Learn to attend to God's whispers! Prepare to receive God's Son into your life in new and exciting ways!
vital for God forever." (Mastery; page 298)
PROPOSITION: If a new revelation of Jesus in our lives cannot come without expectant waiting, we must ask some important questions regarding 'Expectant Waiting'.
I. Why Is Waiting So Difficult For Us?
A. Because we are basically impatient
In some non-western cultures children and adults are trained to be patient, unrushed, and meditative, slow in movements, but such training is rare in our Western Civilization. We are an 'instant' society. 'Instant' oatmeal', 'Instant' coffee, 'Instant' potatoes, 'Instant' meals in the form of T.V. Dinners and add-only-water cake mixes. We grow impatient if the fast-food places don't serve us fast enough! We are not trained to wait on people or to wait on service from people. We want something and we want it immediately! We are a very impatient society. Long years of practice don't appeal to us. We want quick results with little input. There are many who are looking at ways to 'Get-Rich-Quick'! Our young people who have been caught up in the hurly-burly of modem life are even turned off to 'slow' music. Compatible with their lifestyle of rush and hurry and speed and 'immediacy', many youth cannot stand slow, soothing classical music! It must be the fast beat, the kind of music that puts the body in motion that raises the pulse rate, that is so loud and fast that one cannot understand the words! Children get all the toys they want when they want them – no waiting, no anticipation, no denials. Get it all and get it now! A poor way to develop discipline through denial and patience through waiting! We are in the space age – the age of speed. A hard age to develop patience with old people who are very slow in their physical movements and sometimes slow in their comprehension because of mental handicaps!
Why is it so hard to Wait upon the Lord, silently, passively, receptively, alone? Because we are living in a society which hates silence, slowness, solitude! Christians who are bred in such a society will have to work at developing these important qualities, for without these qualities – no new revelation of Jesus in their lives!
We live in an activist society, a society where meditation, quiet, busyness solitude, patient waiting are lost arts. In our society busyness is more important to us than productivity. We Americans think that Doing is more important than being. We think that Talking is more important than Listening.
We think that Quantity is more important than Quality. (For instance, we build many cheap houses quickly rather than a few quality houses built slowly.) We think that fast-moving Youth are more important than the slower moving but experienced Aged. Even in industry today, if you are over 50 and cannot move as fast as the 25 year old, you may lose your job to the faster, but less experienced, youth. (Let us remind ourselves that the greatest period in life may well be the last period of life. It was so with Moses. The first 40 years of life were years of formal education. The second 40 years of life were years of patient preparation, in the desert. The last 40 years of his life were years of unusual productivity – the years when he fulfilled his life mission of leading the people of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land!)
Remember, Simeon was an old man when the greatest revelation of God came to him. And remember, Anna the prophetess, was 84 when she received God's greatest revelation to her!
Slow Me Down, Lord
Give me, amidst the confusion of my day, the calmness of the everlasting hills. Break the tension of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory. Help me to know the magical restorative power of sleep. Teach me the art of taking minute vacations ... Of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a good book Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil oflife's enduring values, that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny. Amen.
(Daily Readings From W. E. Sangster; page 368)
B. Because we look at time from a human viewpoint instead of from God's viewpoint.
God is not slow to fulfill His purposes as some men count slowness. God's timetable is the right timetable. He is never too late, for God sees the 'end from the beginning'. He knows when men are prepared for His fuller revelations. He knows when the fullness of time is for new gifts of knowledge and insight and revelations to be given to us. Someone has said that God is the God who always answers 'in the nick of time'. From man's viewpoint perhaps, but not from God's viewpoint, for God is never rushed and He is never too slow. He is right on time. But because we human beings are living in the dimension of time and see things from time's perspective, we grow impatient with God! Our timetable is different from God's, but God's is the right timetable.
II. Why Is Waiting So Important?
A. Because God Has His Own Timetable
If God's timetable is the only right timetable, then it is all-important to wait upon God's proper time. "Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the Lord" (Psalms 27:14) Good advice to us, for we tend to grow discouraged when our prayers are not quickly answered or when our projects are frustrated! Wait upon God for His timing! "Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to possess the land." (Psalms 37:34) If you wait on the Lord, you will possess new knowledge of God's ways, God's purposes, God's plan for your life! "The eyes of all look to thee, and thou givest them their food in due season." (Psalms 145:15) Food means physical, spiritual, intellectual, social sustenance. God will give the soul who waits expectantly upon Him, all the food he needs! 'Due season' speaks of God's timetable which is the right timetable. God is never too late! Others may think He is late and give up on God. Some grow hopeless and feel that God's promises will never be fulfilled. But God likes to surprise people with His own timing! God's promises to Abraham were late in being fulfilled, but they were not too late. Abraham and Sarah became parents of the promised child when they were very old. Earlier, Abraham had grown impatient with God's timetable, and therefore he took Hagar his handmaid and she bore Abraham a son. But it was ahead of God's timing. Hagar's son was not the promised son!
Remember, in the fullness of time God reveals Himself. Simeon and Anna knew this, so they were willing to wait long and patiently upon God. And they were not disappointed, for God, in His own time, fulfilled His promise to them! In the Book of Acts we learn that the disciples had to wait for ten long days before the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them. "If Jesus had said 'go', He had also said 'tarry' and 'wait'. For ten days they did nothing but tarry and wait. They might have been champing at the bit, eager to be off to tell the Good News of His Resurrection. But it would have been half\baked if they had. For not only were
they to tell of His Resurrection – they were to illustrate it … People were to feel the Resurrection through these resurrected lives. So the best thing they ever did was not to do. For ten days they were quiet and receptive." (Mystery; Jones; page 297)
It is important for us to work for the Lord, but it is equally important for us to wait expectantly upon the Lord. "Jeremiah said out of much tribulation that 'it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord'. Both hope and quietly wait! Some rush on with their work for God, and, meeting disappointment, get discouraged … The saint both hopes and quietly waits. Not all he has to endure robs him of the patience of hope, for he knows that God will have His way in the end." (Daily Readings; page 203; Sangster)
Waiting upon the Lord is an antidote against discouragement. Isaiah wrote, "They that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31) "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58) "And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9) Waiting on God gives birth to hope which neutralizes discouragement during difficult times. Waiting upon God enables us to look beyond the problems of the present to the promises that are to be fulfilled in the future!
B. Because Some Great Revelations and Gifts From God Can Only Be Received By The One Who Is More Mature In His Walk.
We tell children to wait for some gifts, for we believe that until they are older they will not be able to properly receive and appreciate them. We tell a child that he must wait until he is older before he can drive a car. We tell a young adolescent that he must wait until he is older before he is ready to be married. We tell a high school graduate that he ought to wait and go to college before he gets a job or tries to enter a profession. We tell a young worker that he will have to wait to mature and to gain experience before he can have the better job or the executive position. Even within God's Church, the Lord has directed ministers to mature before they can even be considered for some offices, like deacon or elder or Bishop.
Let them also be tested first; then if they prove themselves blameless let them serve as deacons." (1 Timothy 3:10) "He (a bishop) must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil." (1 Timothy 3:6)
Some revelations from God can only come to those who have long prepared, fasted, waited, expected, and matured. It is not insignificant that God revealed the person and purpose of Jesus to ones who had long prepared for that special and great gift of revelation. For many years Simeon and Anna had waited upon the Lord at the holy Temple. Of Anna it is said, "She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day." (Luke 2:37) God had matured Simeon and Anna to the point where they were able to receive a great revelation from God. The long waiting, praying, expecting were necessary to prepare them for God's greatest revelation. Not even Joseph and Mary recognized the person and mission of Jesus like Simeon and Anna. "And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him (Jesus)." (Luke 2:33)
Why is waiting so important? Because some of God's special gifts and revelations can only be given to more mature Christians who have learned to wait upon God.
C. Because waiting upon God raises our level of expectations, desires, and anticipations, making the fulfillment of the promise all that more sweet and wonderful.
The farmer's harvest is more meaningful because he has had to wait for the harvest. "Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain." (James 5:7)
A man's wife is more meaningful to him because he had to wait for weeks or months during the dating and engagement period before the wedding day.
The child's toy is more meaningful to him because he has had to wait for it.
The teen works and waits patiently to earn enough money before he can buy that dream car. How much more meaningful the car is to him because he had to work and wait for it!
What if God immediately gave us everything we desired without us ever having to wait for His gifts? Would we not, like a child, be spoiled and tend to take everything for granted? Do we not appreciate the fulfillment of God's promises even more because we have had to wait for their fulfillment? Is not the anticipation of waiting to open a gift under the Christmas tree about as great as the actual opening of the gift?
Is not the waiting for the fulfillment of God's promises part of the process of perfecting our character? Is not the communion and fellowship with God which we experience in prayer, while waiting for an 'answer', just as important as the actual 'answer' to the prayer? For prayer is not for the purpose of simply getting things;
prayer is for the purpose of 'making' us, through communion with God, while God is taking time to give us 'things'.
D. Because God's voice cannot be heard unless one is still and quiet, in a waiting, expectant mood.
Simeon heard the voice of God because he was quiet in God's presence. This is not to say that it is easy to hear the voice of God in the silence. William Sangster said he once got a letter from a man of seventy-three who wrote, "I have tried for years to hear the voice of God. I have never heard it. Is it all illusion?" Comments Sangster, "He does not know how to listen. He seems to expect a human voice. To quote the poet to him and say 'God speaks in silences' won't help him; it sounds silly … There begins the difficulty. Many voices sound within our mind. People who have never practiced listening in the silence are astonished, when they begin, at the pandemonium of voices inside. At times it sounds like Babel Fear, hope, memory, ambition, all find voice inside us and sometimes they even talk together, and the high skill of this interior listening is to learn how to know the voice of God from all the other voices … It isn't simple. One must be prepared for patience and practice, and resolve never to use the words 'God said to me …' or 'I was guided …' (or any similar expression) without great care and reserve." (Daily Readings page 9)
I have known of persons who declared that God spoke to them and yet it was obvious from the directions they received that the voice they heard was not the voice of God.
But even though it may not be easy to hear the authentic voice of God amidst all the other 'voices', it is possible and vitally necessary to learn to hear the voice of God in the silence of our mediation and prayer. Simeon heard the voice of God's promise: "And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ." (Luke 2:26) God had spoken. Simeon waited long. God fulfilled His promise to Simeon in due time!
"The prophets often said 'Thus saith the Lord'. They claimed to have received special messages from God. The saints often claimed that God spoke to them – sometimes in quite precise terms." (Ibid; page 9)
What is the voice of God like? Elijah learned! When Elijah the prophet was hiding from Jezebel in a cave, "the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still small voice." (1 Kings 19:11-12) The 'still small voice' was the voice of God! But
how can we hear the 'still small voice' of God if there is no stillness, no solitude, no quiet time, no waiting?
Waiting is important because God comes and speaks to us in his 'still small voice' when we wait quietly and expectantly! To listen for God's voice is all-important'! Our waiting is more than mere waiting. Simeon waited but his waiting was the waiting of a heart that was devout, righteous, and earnest. He was a single-minded, devout soul, fixed on God, not a double-minded soul, worldly-oriented and easily distracted. He concentrated on God's promises. He looked for the consolation of Israel, expecting God to deliver and to comfort Israel in God's own time and way.
Are we, like Simeon, longing and looking for God to deliver us and to comfort our people and nation in God's own time and way? If we, like Simeon, are centered on God, we too will know that the Holy Spirit is upon us (Luke 2:25), that we are 'inspired by the Spirit' (Luke 2:27). The Spirit is a mighty aid to the seeking and waiting soul. "The Holy Spirit helps us with out daily problems and in our praying. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words." (Romans 8:26, Living Bible)
We must identify with Simeon in our quest for God. "Why not give this quest for the awareness of the Divine an unhurried trial? Is there, in all this universe, anything more important to you than to know God? Can you expect to know him in scamped moments? Are you willing to meet his conditions when he says, 'Ye shall seek me and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart?' Give time to it, plenty of time. Go into the silence for long periods but also into the company of those who claim to know him. Put yourself to school to the Bible. Be found regularly at worship. Hold in your mind the picture of God revealed by Jesus and just think and think on him. Don't lose heart if the hours go by and nothing seems to come. The hours are not being wasted. Persist! Faith will grow in you. The glad day will come when you also will say, 'I know him whom I have believed'" (Can I Know God?; Sangster; page 23, 24)
The practice of waiting persistently and expectantly will produce great fruit in your life – you will come to know God inwardly and intimately!
E. Because waiting is evidence of faith – evidence that we believe in the vision God has given to us and that we believe that vision will be fulfilled in God's own time and way.
For instance, a woman, engaged to be married to a man who is overseas in the military service, shows her faith in the man and in his promise to marry her, when she waits patiently and persistently for him to return for the wedding day.
Simeon believed so firmly in God's promise that he would see the Christ before he died, that he was willing daily to wait upon the Lord for the fulfillment of the promise.
Waiting demonstrated faith and hope. "Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." (Romans 8:24-25) "Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." (James 5:7-8)
Waiting on the Lord demonstrates our faith in the Lord, that the Lord will fulfill His promises and give realization to our hopes.
III. What Is The Result Of Waiting Expectantly Upon God?
When we wait upon God patiently and expectantly, and continue to claim God's promises, we will 'see Jesus' and we will understand the true nature of Jesus' saving mission.
The person of Jesus and the purposes of Jesus will be known to us more than ever before.
Is there any greater revelation to us than that of 'seeing' with the eyes of faith the Lord Jesus – seeing His 'person' and seeing His saving purpose?
To see Jesus is to see everything else, for everything in life centers on Jesus. To see Jesus clearly is to see everything else rightly! Failure to see Jesus results in everything else in life becoming hazy! If one does not see Jesus clearly, one cannot correctly see God, one cannot correctly see himself, one cannot correctly see others! To see Jesus clearly is to see everything else concretely!
To recognize the person of Jesus – that He is indeed the fulfillment of God's promise to the world – is to recognize the purpose of Jesus – that is, that He is the 'light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory to thy people Israel'.(Luke 2:32)
One who waits upon God comes to understand the purposes and plans of God. For a mere mortal to be 'let in' on God's master plans, is to be given the greatest privilege of all! What a gift – to be given the plans of the Master Architect of the Universe! Simeon's waiting and praying was all worthwhile, for, when others failed to see the saving mission of Jesus, Simeon and Anna were among the very few to whom the mission was revealed. When Jesus came, Simeon and Anna were prepared to see and to recognize the Saviour of the world! Why? Because they had long prepared for this important day. Their eyes were opened to behold the Saviour, because for long years their ears had been opened to God's voice in prayer and their hearts had been opened to God's thoughts through quiet meditation.
No one can 'see' Jesus or 'see' His saving work today with any depth unless his heart is prepared through long prayer and meditation. Jesus is only revealed to prepared people – people like Simeon and Anna who had long waited and prayed and fasted, in the Temple.
Jesus will reveal Himself to you in new ways if you learn to wait upon Him! Do you have your Quiet Times daily? Do you wait upon Him daily in prayer, training your ears to listen for God's 'small, still voice'? Have you trained your mind to meditate upon God's Word each day? Do you have a mood of expectation and anticipation as you long for the fulfillment of God's promises in your personal life? Are you learning to wait patiently and persistently upon God?
Are you prepared to 'see' God in the way God wishes to reveal Himself to you? I ask this question because many overlooked the presence of Jesus when He came the first time. Simeon and Anna and only a few others recognized Jesus when He came. Why? Because Jesus' coming was in such a common way! He was born like other babies are born, and He was presented in the Temple for the rite of circumcision and purification like any other Jewish male baby. Nothing out of the ordinary, and yet Simeon, in the most ordinary of circumstances, recognized Jesus!
Why do the multitudes today not recognize Jesus' presence? Because their hearts are not prepared to see Jesus among the commonplace things of life! Jesus can only be seen by humble people, humble folks like Simeon and Anna, whose preparation was sufficient to receive God's revelation of His Son. God reveals Jesus among the simple, routine things of life – things like the smile of a friend, a loving letter from a relative, a hymn in the Church service, the hug of a child, the kiss of a companion, the tug on your heart during your daily devotions, the testimony of a new Christian, the kind act of an employer, the sermon of God's minister, the exquisite sunset after a long day, the 'still small voice' during worship service.
Are you surprised that people do not recognize the presence of Jesus in the world today? Notes William Sangster, "I do not think so – if we remember that men are always more attracted by the spectacular than the truly great. If God had come to earth in a chariot of fire, multitudes would have knelt before him. But He was born as we are born and His coming was marked only by a few. If He had moved among men in dazzling apparel, with a glance of flame and a voice of thunder, He would have subdued kingdoms, but He came in the dress of a common workman, spoke with a Galilean accent, and so blended the sublime with the normal that only the few saw that the sublime was there … the unusual and the ostentatious are always more attractive than that which is truly grand … I once stood at sunset with a group of friends waiting for a firework display. It was to begin at dark. While we waited I looked behind me and saw the sun sinking in a sea of glory, and I said to them, 'Look at the sunset!' Nobody looked. They were waiting for a common squib … Many people are making the same mistake today. They are seeking at a distance the God Who stands at the door of their heart … I believe that some of you have only to quiet the deafening noises of the world and you will hear Him say, 'Have I been so long time with you and yet hast thou not known Me?'" (Sangster's Daily Reading; page 125)
"God is constantly seeking to meet us in the common and unexpected moments of life. He does not wait for what we are pleased to call the 'grand moments' but He will make the common place the grand. We walk about blind to the glory that is around us because we do not expect to find it there. We mortgage the joys of the present, the quiet homely joys of humdrum days, to our anticipations of some distant time of overwhelming happiness of a kind that never comes to most people. God has not concealed our happiness in some fabled EL Dorado. It is all around us if we would only learn to see it in common things." (Ibid; page 185)
Why do some people find Jesus and others don't? Because, as we have been noting, some people, like Simeon and Anna, have prepared their hearts to look for Jesus in the commonplace things of life and others have not prepared their hearts to see Him. Simeon and Anna found Jesus at the very place where they had often and routinely gone – at the Temple.
CONCLUSION: Why do some people find Jesus and others don't? Because some persevere in their quest for Jesus. Simeon and Anna were determined to know God's Son, and therefore they waited patiently and persistently!
"That is where discipline comes into the holy life; not the toilsome, straining; failing effort to be good; but the faithful attending on God to receive …. There can be no continuance of the holy life in the soul of any man who does not continually wait on God. Only those who 'attend the whispers' of His grace can hear Him 'only speak'." (Sangster; Ibid; page 188)
Learn to attend to God's whispers! Prepare to receive God's Son into your life in new and exciting ways!
Here He Comes – Patiently Prepare
Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "The Passive side of the Christian life – the side where we submit, endure, suffer, wait – is far more difficult than the Active side of life – the side where we achieve, venture, preach, sing, organize, administer."
Give your response to the following advice from E. Stanley Jones: "Choose to loaf in God's presence and then you'll be forever busy in His service. Be silent to God for a day, yea, ten days if necessary, and you'll be vocal and vital for God forever."
Share illustrations from modem life which documents the truth of the following statements: "We live in an activistic society, a society where meditation, quiet, solitude, and patient waiting are lost arts. Society in general believes busyness is more important than productivity, that Doing is more important than Being, that Talking is more important than Listening, that Quantity is more important than Quality, that fast-moving youth are more important than slower-moving older people!"
Share an experience from your own personal life which illustrates the truth of the following statement: "Because we human beings are living in the dimension of time and see things from time's perspective we grow impatient with God!"
Share illustrations, both from Biblical history and from more recent times, of persons who learned to wait patiently for God to fulfill His promises to them. (Note Genesis 21:1-5; Luke 2:22-38) Concerning the importance of 'waiting upon the Lord', share which of the following Scriptures mean most to you: Psalms 27:14; Psalms 37:34; Psalms 145:15; Isaiah 40: 31; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9.
Why do you think that God revealed to Simeon and Anna more about the person and the mission of Jesus, than He revealed to Joseph and to Mary? (Note Luke 2:33)
Do you believe that waiting for the fulfillment of God's promises is part of the process which God uses to perfect our Christina character? What do you think would tend to happen in our lives, if God immediately gave us everything we desired, without us ever having to wait for His gifts?
Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statements by William Sangster: "The high skill of this interior listening is to learn how to know the voice of God from all other voices. It isn't simple. One must be prepared for patience and practice, and
resolve never to use the word 'God said to me ….' or 'I was guided …' (or any similar expression) without great care and reserve."
How is the 'voice of God' described in 1 Kings 19:11-12?
After reading the following paragraph, share what things you personally plan to do during the next few weeks, in attempt to come to know God better: "Can you expect to know him in scamped moments? Are you willing to meet his conditions when he says, 'Ye shall seek me and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart?' Give time to it, plenty of time. Go into the silence for long periods but also into the company of those who claim to know him. Put yourself to school to the Bible. Be found regularly at worship. Hold in your mind the picture of God revealed by Jesus and just think and think on him. Don't lose heart if the hours go by and nothing seems to come. The hours are not being wasted. Persist! Faith will grow in you. The glad day will come when you also will say, 'I know him whom I have believed.'"
Share how 'Waiting' can be a demonstration of one's strong faith in God. (Note Romans 8:24-25; James 5:7-8)
Share how God has revealed Himself to you, in the most ordinary of circumstances (as in the case of Anna and Simeon). Tell to what extent you identify with the following statement: "God reveals Jesus among the simple, routine things of life – things like the smile of a friend, a loving letter from a relative, a hymn in the Church service, the hug of a friend or child, the kiss of a companion, the tug on your heart during your daily devotions, the testimony of a new Christian, the kind act of an employer, the sermon of God's minister, the exquisite sunset after a long day, the 'still small voice' during a worship service."
Are you surprised that people do not recognize the presence of Jesus in the world today? Share examples that illustrate the truth of the following statements: "Men are always more attracted by the spectacular than the truly great. If God had come to earth in a chariot of fire, multitudes would have knelt before him, but He was born as we are born and He came in the dress of a common workman. He so blended the sublime with the normal that only a few saw that the sublime was there. The unusual and the ostentatious are always more attractive than that which is truly grand. God is constantly seeking to meet us in the common and unexpected moments of life."