I am alive! I write this with great enthusiasm, because for a few days that barely felt true. My daughter stayed home from school on Wednesday with a fever and sore throat. Her illness never progressed far beyond that, and some general tiredness and aches, but by Thursday night I was feeling congested and went to bed early, and barely stood more than ten minutes together from then until Sunday late afternoon. The next 48 hours all I did between naps was laundry and cleaning as much as possible to try to kill the germs, since we all six were afflicted to varying degrees. After 47 loads of laundry and seventeen boxes of tissues, we haven’t quite kicked the bug, but we are well on our way.

Finally, I had a moment to read my Bible today. Not that I’ve caught up with cleaning. No, even as I write I am remembering that I still have the contents of my under-the-kitchen-sink cabinet strewn across the floor, since when I was looking for a new pack of cleaning wipes, I found and attacked a thousand ants. No, I don’t imagine I’ll actually be able to say my house is clean until I am moving and there is nothing in the house. I don’t read my Bible because I have nothing else to do. I run to my Bible to connect with God, because nothing else is as valuable as that.

I know not everyone is a reader, but for me, reading is a gateway to my soul. So thank you, God, for being with me in this messy house and loving me without any thought to the unfinished tasks. You don’t care! Having a clean home, in order to be hospitable and create a stress-free environment, can be part of how I love God and others, but sometimes, it really does not matter. And I am so glad I don’t need to worry about passing on any germs to God, or to you, through the world wide web.

After that ridiculously rambling introduction, in which I have probably wasted a lot of words, I bring my reflections from reading today, one of which is how interesting it is that God doesn’t seem to waste anything, or do anything haphazardly. I love that about God. God is always calm. Nothing catches Him by surprise. God responds thoughtfully, He does not react emotionally, as we are so often prone to do. God doesn’t make mistakes. This is a beautiful thing.

I love reading Genesis 1. I have read it dozens of times. But it is still interesting to me. No one was there when God created the first five and a half days, pre-human creation. So how do we know this is how it happened? Because that is how God chose to reveal it to someone. Did you ever think about that? Why is it written that way? Why poetically? Why in a week format? Whole books have been written about this chapter; endless debates have arisen. A literal week or a figurative week? Is the earth actually six thousand years old, or is it billions of years old? Were the dinosaurs included among the animals of sea, sky and land? Or were they somewhere between the “creation” of verse 1 and the “formless emptiness” of verse 2?

I don’t know. Instead of debating details about what the Bible doesn’t tell us, let’s look at the beauty of what it actually does tell us. For starters, it tells us that God created. God created intentionally. God created carefully. God paid attention to detail. God thought through what we would need, in the forms of land, water and air; night and day; food and companionship. What God created was good. And when God had set the stage, and prepared everything, we arrived.

God created us, finite, limited little versions of Himself. Yes, I am actually saying that. God created us to be like Him. I am saying that, because God said that. “Let Us make humankind in Our own image, and in Our own likeness, male and female,” said the Triune God. Then He  blessed us, and gave us a task to represent Himself on earth (Genesis 1:27-28). Nothing else was made like that, to be like God Himself. And it seems, everything else that was made was put here for us – either for our pleasure, our provision, or as a reflection of God’s glory, character, and power, so that even through observing His creation, we might come to know God better (Romans 1:20). David’s response to this contemplation of creation is written in Psalm 8.

“God! You are amazing! When I look at all You’ve made, in comparison I wonder— what are we? And yet you have made us like Yourself. You shared Your glory with us, and Your authority. I don’t understand.” (Psalm 8, My paraphrase!)

What should I do with that? What does it mean to live in the image and likeness of God? The ultimate answer is —JESUS! He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). He is the true representation to our dim reflection:

“Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but [in the end] we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, jut as God knows me now.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT).

I take comfort in this verse, that someday, God and humanity and creation will all make sense, and my questions will be answered. But for now, God certainly hasn’t left us in the dark, regarding how to live to be a truer likeness of Himself.

In Deuteronomy 6 He calls us closely to Himself – He invites us into constant connection with Himself through what we say and do. He reminds us that though there may be plenty of counterfeit gods out there, there is only ONE true God, and though it is not always the easiest path to follow Him, it is the best path.

God gave us ten commands to follow in Exodus 20: the first three are about how we love God, the final six about how we “love our neighbor as ourself” (Mark 12:29-31). In between, the fourth commandment is about the Sabbath, which links loving God with loving others and finding balance in our own lives. Again we see God’s amazing care for us, attention to detail, and intentionality in all He does, even in the way he revealed the creation story to us. Once again, it is about design: we are to pattern our lives upon the pattern God revealed in the creation narrative, of six days to work and the seventh to rest. Maybe God didn’t really need to rest. Maybe he just wanted to take a break to enjoy creation. Maybe it’s worthwhile for us to take a break and enjoy God and creation and each other, even if we don’t feel we “need” to rest.

Above all, God says, LOVE. God is love. God is light, and in Him there is no darkness. God may be invisible, but LIGHT makes all things visible. God may not be visible, but true LOVE is shown and lived in visible and tangible ways, and when we love, we see God (1 John 1-2).

So, what am I really saying? Perhaps I ought not attempt to post on here while still recovering from a fever and deep head cold. Or perhaps this is as good a time as any to remind myself that I am loved. I am made with a purpose, and on purpose. Even when my home is a mess and my head is clouded, and even though I make mistakes and don’t always love perfectly, I am always loved perfectly. I am loved because I, in my limited state, am still a reflection of my limitless, amazing God, and nothing can take that away. And to live in a true likeness is to love, and to follow eagerly and only in the path God lays out.

God, As I soldier out into my home and tend to my still-recovering family, help me extend Your love. When I am tired in body and weary in soul, help me to still love. When I have to repeat myself for the zillionth time in trying to shape my kids into polite little humans, help me have patience, and keep loving. When I get annoyed by the work and chaos and unpredictability of life, help me still love. Because all those other people in my home, and in my world, are also made in Your image, and they are loved. I am only privileged to honestly bear your likeness when I love too.