Israel, listen! Our God is the Lord! Only the Lord! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up. Tie them on your hand as a sign. They should be on your forehead as a symbol. Write them on your house’s doorframes and on your city’s gates.Deuteronomy 6:4-9
When I sat down at my desk to begin work this morning (and, by the way, it’s a lot easier to work in a clean, organized study!) my eye fell on the array of objects directly in front of me. My spirit immediately moved into “Thankfulness Mode” and it is necessarily shifting the focus of my entire day.
Several photographs, a framed sketch Andrew did when he was eight years old, my journal, my morning coffee, a retired mug full of pens and pencils, an antique map of England and Wales, my Bible, open to some chapters in Ecclesiastes, my glasses (either putting the scriptures in focus or the scriptures putting my vision into proper focus).
It’s impossible to pause, look at the details of my life, think about all the amazing blessings I engage every single day, and not be a little overwhelmed with both gratitude and a realization that I am so deeply loved.
THE WORLD AWAITS!
The journal cover reads “THE WORLD AWAITS.” It captures beautifully the foundational intention Rebekah and I have applied both to our individual journeys and our adventure together, as well as the way we raised Andrew and Naomi.
That may be why the family photo – circa 1993 – will always be one of my favorites (I’ll include the most recent in the gallery for comparison). There we were having hiked up Lookout Mountain, slap in the middle of one of those “challenging” times of family life, our plucky little Bichon proud of himself for having scampered all the way up, “The World” as our backdrop, and Montreat North Carolina as a symbolic foundation at our feet. Things were certainly not easy that year, but we were – and we are – a family living this Great Adventure in the sure and certain knowledge that God is both our destination and our guide.
“Not your ordinary Dad,” Andrew had captioned his sketch a couple of years earlier, “but mine.”
So “The World Awaits” remains a good and constant word, from the ancient map of my ancestral homeland in the background to Wake Forest and to all the experiences we continue to engage as a family. And there in the foreground of the photograph stands the Bible, with a little help from my progressive lenses. And, again, is the lens helping me to see God’s word more clearly? Or is God’s word the progressive lens through which I am learning to see the world that “awaits”?
I am clear about the fact that when I engage this world in the context of first spending time with God and then inviting God to accompany me along the way, then I do see more clearly.
Rebekah and I always share a devotional reading and a prayer at breakfast, putting the coming hours in proper context, as well as our individual spiritual disciplines. Then, moving out with Jesus as our companion and guide, we not only see more clearly, but we love more dearly, and we follow more nearly.
Day by day, dear Lord, day by day.
Day by daythe Godspell version
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.