School was always fun for me- except the ever-dreaded science class. Now, since I have been known to teach Bible classes with science principles, one might think that science was way cool for me. On the contrary, the Bible is way cool, and science (to me) is simply applying Biblical principles to God's natural economy; this makes science tolerable.
One scientific study is geology, the study of the earth. This study includes the study of rocks, which, in my estimation, is unbelievably boring. Until the rocks cry out, I will look at them as hard pieces of dried-up ground- not unlike the hard pieces of dried-up food that used to be dug up when my son's room would require an archeological dig.
In spite of my boredom, I did always find a fossil more intriguing. Life had somehow left an impression that eventually hardened and remained forever in the otherwise-boring rock. That rock would be indented with a leaf or insect or feather pattern. The rock became a piece of art.
Likewise, people are impressed and indented by the people and events experienced throughout life. I believe that some impressions press harder and leave a greater impression. Sometimes these impressions are good and sometimes we are "depressed" by more difficult influences. I suppose, however, that two people could live closely-related experiences and one might be impressed while the other is depressed. Think about the Israelites. They had been delivered from slavery, fed in the wilderness, and provided a land "filled with milk and honey." Once they had crossed the parted Jordan River, they built an altar- a reminder- so that they could remember God's goodness throughout the generations. Perhaps those who were there would be more impressed. Hopefully, the impression left would be a beautiful reminder of God's ability to give life in the midst of seemingly-hopeless times.
And yet, time and time again, God's people had forgotten. They would wail with grief as they would complain of God's forgetfulness; then, He lovingly would bring prophets and circumstances to remind them. He really wants His people to be forever impressed with the Word of God.
God still brings people and circumstances into our lives, reminding us of His presence. Sadly, though, I realize that like sediment that hardens into rock, we, too, become more and more hardened. Our hearts cynically reject those who can leave a lasting impression while our heads justify the rejection: we have been hurt by people, so why listen? We can't handle another disappointment, so we avoid risk. We no longer reach out to others because that which should leave impressions has crushed us into depression.
Yet- God wants us to learn from others even when the circumstance is less than comfortable. Thus, here is my heart-felt confession: I want God to speak to me through you. If you leave me with a "God impression," I will gladly accept my lot as a fossil. Additionally, I want to leave a godly impression in your life- if we encourage one another in the Lord, our life-long impressions can make a difference; we can become a part of His true, Masterful art.