For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9
On this date in 1956, around the middle of the day, The Creator set into motion one of the most creative, and beautiful, and imaginative initiatives ever to grace the ongoing “Humanity Project.” There, in the small town of Waynesboro, Georgia, a child was born – Rebekah Perkins Alexander.
The moment surprised the parents, who were confidently expecting John Marshall (the next preacher in the family) to make his appearance. But God, who can always see far beyond the narrow strictures of both society and religion, had a specific purpose, and an expansive, ambitious plan.
I’ll bet there were excited whisperings in heaven that day – angels gathering for coffee or around the water cooler, saying, “Rebekah! You’d better write that name down and remember. I wonder what God is up to this time? Likely something remarkable! Mark my words, the Lord has some amazing plans for this one!”
Rebekah’s parents – Bob and Nelle Alexander – had literally been on their knees for months, praying over their third child. Long before the birth they dedicated this baby to God, set aside for, “The Gospel Ministry,” and they had the name – John Marshall – ready to go. So they looked at each other and they said (no kidding), “Well, we guess not this one.”
It was 1956, after all.
BUT GOD IS SO MUCH MORE CREATIVE!
“But God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and God’s ways are not our ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are the Creator’s ways higher than our way…”
And I am so thankful for that truth, because it is a tale as old as time that we try to hem God into our way of thinking. And, rather than live as beings created in the image of God, we do pretty-much everything in our power to recreate God – significantly reduced – in the image of us.
So God reached into time and space in 1956 and said:
“I have some amazing plans for this my latest creation! The world may not nearly be ready, but I am surely ready for some radical change! I’m not in the business of validating the petty prejudices, the narrow thinking, the closed hearts, and the restrictions that stand as roadblocks to the flow of my love. Instead, I’m in the business of doing new things! I’m in the business of adding light to dark places! I’m in the business of liberation! I’m in the business of invitation! I’m in the business of using every means possible to bring my Kingdom to my children!”
So Rebekah was born; and today God is still re-imagining, and recreating, and restoring, and regenerating, and loving with such passion and purpose.
And I – just hanging on for the ride sometimes – am such a privileged man to be on this journey, together, exploring what it means to roar into our 60’s with this fresh head of steam, only too pleased that Robert and Nelle Alexander’s prayer took so well, all those years ago.
Peace, and more peace; light, and more light; love, and more love – DEREK