Three weeks ago at this time we were on vacation in beautiful San Diego, marveling at God’ handiwork on display everywhere we went. What an incredible trip! Not only did we get (11) people across the country and back safe and sound, we were able to visit many of the hotspots San Diego has to offer, from the Gaslamp Quarter to the San Diego Zoo to Point Loma and also Seaport Village…But the highlight for me was visiting the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. You will not find this on the list of the top tourist destinations, but for someone who studied this architectural masterpiece in college and its creator, Louis Kahn it was a dream come true! In 1992, the Salk received a 25-Year Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and was featured in the AIA exhibit Structures of Our Time: 31 Buildings That Changed Modern Life and was described in the San Diego Union-Tribune as the single most significant architectural site in San Diego. And that is not exaggeration! Check out this video I stumbled on that shows how incredible this masterpiece is throughout the day – from sunrise to sunset!
The next paragraph is for the Architects or other people who appreciate architecture and a little history…gleaned from the Salk Institute’s website. Named after Jonas Salk, MD, the developer of the first safe and effective polio vaccine, the vision for the Salk Institute was to be a research facility that would contribute to the betterment of humankind. In 1960 Salk selected world-renowned architect Louis I. Kahn and directed him to create spacious, unobstructed laboratory spaces that could be adapted to the ever-changing needs of science. The building materials had to be simple, strong, durable, and as maintenance-free as possible. Jonas Salk summarized his aesthetic objectives by telling Kahn to “create a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso.” Kahn’s masterwork sits on a 27 acre site overlooking the Pacific Ocean and consists of two mirror-image structures — each six stories tall — that flank a grand travertine courtyard with cascading waterfalls. As you can see these couple of shots, the space is breathtaking…Okay no more details on the Salk Institute, (thank you for indulging me). I will get back on track and share with you the muse for the Thought for the Day. As an idealistic young architecture student, I was privileged to tour most of Louis Kahn’s buildings, the few that were constructed on the east coast. Moving to Texas, I checked off the Kimball Art Museum from my list and now the Salk Institute. Kahn was a master at mixing materials and creating spaces that you just wanted to spend hours in. My dream was to work on architectural projects like that! As I grew up though, I opted for better financial compensation which led me away from job opportunities that would have been more design orientated, to firms that specialized in more utilitarian projects. Don’t get me wrong, though I would have loved working projects like Kahn did, but I much rather have the life that I have now. I am happily married and have a close relationship with my daughters and financial stability unlike my architectural idol.
After sharing my experience at the Salk, a co-worker lent me a documentary film that was made by his son Nathaniel Kahn called “My Architect,” Phenomenally produced, the younger Kahn blended family history with site visits to his father’s buildings and interviews with people who knew and worked with Louis Kahn, in an effort to learn about whom the man was that died when he was just 11 years old in 1973, (just 1 year before I was born!) Kahn died from a heart attack in Penn Station, NY in a men’s room after returning from a business trip. Because he scratched off his address on his passport, this word-renowned architect remained in the morgue for 3 days until he was finally claimed. What I found out through this gut wrenching search from my hero’s son, was that the man who created these incredible masterpieces was half a million dollars in debt at the time of his death, and the father of 3 children, one from his wife, and the others from two mistresses. I know that you should never put people on a pedestal but I was taken aback by this revelation. My heart went out to Nathaniel Kahn, a middle-aged man who clearly had deep father wounds from a man who valued work far above relationships, and was quite selfish in how he treated the mothers of his illegitimate children. If that was not bad enough, in the documentary several times they played a clip of Louis Kahn staying….
Sad…My heart dropped…All I could think of, was how tragic this man’s view of life was. Believing that his existence was merely accidental was the saddest fact that I learned about him. This quote has haunted me, because though I looked up to the “architect” Louis Kahn, the man behind the buildings clearly was broken and lost in his view of the meaning of life.
Maybe you share this view of life, and today, with every fiber of my being, I want you to know that is the farthest thing from the truth! Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) says,
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Charles Stanley wrote a Life Lesson on this verse in his Life Principle’s Bible which illuminates this verse…
“No one understands you better than God – He knows you far more profoundly than you can even know yourself. In fact, the Lord knows what you were created to be and all the great things He could accomplish through you if you were to surrender yourself to Him. He has designed you for a specific, fulfilling purpose, but you cannot find it or achieve it on your own. Rather, it is only by abiding in Him that it will come to fruition in your life.”
God has a plan for your life and He wants you to know that it’s been planned for a long time…There is nothing random or accidental with God!
In the Old Testament there was girl named Esther who was became queen to King Xerxes. I will attempt give you the “Cliff Notes” version on her background (but I highly recommend you read the whole book of Esther, incredible history!) After becoming Queen, her cousin Mordecai warned her to keep secret her family background and nationality since she was a Jew. Haman was the King’s right hand man, who was higher than that of all the other nobles. At the time of his promotion, Mordecai refused to bow down to him and give him honor so Haman sought to destroy not only Mordecai but all the Jews. He convinced the King that the Jews needed to be eliminated and in Esther 3:13a (NIV1984) it says that
“Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews–young and old, women and little children–on a single day”
Mordecai came to Queen Esther for help to beg for mercy so that the King would change this law. She was in a precarious situation of whether to allow her people to be executed or to go before King Xerxes and risk being killed herself, because at that time there was a law that any man or woman any man or woman who approached the king without being summoned could be put to death unless the king to extend the gold scepter to them to spare their life. Like anyone in a position like that, fear made Esther waver about whether to heed Mordecai’s request or not. In Esther 4:14 (NIV1984) Mordecai made this powerful statement.
You can read the whole account between Mordecai and Esther in Esther Chapter 4. This is such an amazing story that is just as relevant today as it was back when it happened in Mid-to-Late Fifth Century B.C. (464 – 415 B.C.). You may feel like your life is just a random set of experiences and accidental as Louis Kahn stated, but God wants you to know you are not alone and that He has a plan and a purpose for you! Just like he used Esther (who did ultimately go to see King Xerxes and convince him to save her people,) God can use you to do great things as well. In fact who knows, you could be in your current situation to prepare you for the next phase of your life as Esther was! God created you and I intentionally, not accidentally. As I wrote in the ★ Thought for the Day – Confidence In Who’s You Are ★, we are the “apple of His Eye!” I just wish that Louis Kahn had heard this truth. Stop for a moment and meditate on what Psalms 8:3-6 (NLT) says,
I like how the message translation puts it.
“Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?”
The answer is because we are significant and valuable to God. No one wastes their time on things that do not matter. In our last post, ★ Back to the Basics – Silencing the Noise ★, we discussed the importance of developing a quiet time with God so that we can center our lives on Him and get to know who His Son Jesus Christ through reading the Bible. We need to make it a priority to spend time with God because He has already made you and me a priority in His life!
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Eternity has been planted in your heart! Let me ask you, what Reminds You of God’s Presence? Or what is evidence to you of His Handiwork? For me it is sunsets…Everyday God paints the sky with a beautiful and tangible reminder of His omnipresence. Going back to Psalms 8:3-5 the writer uses this imagery to describe the majesty of God’s creation…“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers”…God positioned the moon and the stars but yet He took the time to create mankind and to continue to care about us even after being rejected over and over by His children…It is amazing! The next time you see a beautiful sunset, take notice of His Majesty, God is calling out to you to remind you that regardless of the day you just had, He is ever-present and He loves you!
YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT!
Maybe you are reading this and God is stirring your heart to make a change…
Below is a prayer you can pray to start your relationship, the words you say really don’t matter, there is nothing special about them, but the emotion and belief in your heart does. Make this your prayer today:
God take this broken, sinful person and forgive my sins. I want a relationship with you I am in need of a Savior. I believe that Jesus came to die for my sins and that He is the bridge that brings me to eternal life with you forever. Please forgive all my sins. I accept the free gift of eternal life and know that I can never do enough good deeds to earn that salvation. In Jesus Name I pray! Amen!
Please contact me if you have any questions about your new life in Jesus Christ, I would love to discuss your decision more. God Bless!
If you would like to read the next post, go here…★ Thought for the Day – Begging God For_____? ★