“…the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
“Look, I really need you to hear me out on this one, okay? I’m praying with my whole heart.” I clasped my hands together for emphasis— just in case God needed a visual clue.
“Sparrow,” He said, (I love His nickname for me) “I hear you.”
“You’re sure about that? Sometimes it feels like my prayers don’t reach you—like letters that fall behind a piece of machinery at the post office and collect dust.
“Every prayer is received,” God said. “Every word. Every emotion. I just don’t always answer your prayer the way you’d like me to,” God said.
“So, you’re saying that all prayers are heard and answered, one way or another?”
“Exactly,” God said. “If you pray about it, I’m on it. I’m not busy with anything else. I’m only focused on my creation,” God replied, “and watching Game Of Thrones.”
God laughed. “Just kidding. Pray your prayer, Sparrow. I’m listening. Then trust that I will answer it perfectly because, hey, that’s how I roll, baby.”
“You’re so gangsta!” I giggled and ducked, just in case He wanted to thump me on the head for that remark.
I closed my eyes and prayed to the God who always listens, always answers, always loves— and apparently has a sense of humor. I’m crazy about Him. Aren’t you?
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”
All night the little boat tossed about on the stormy sea. Wave after wave pounded the deck. The good Captain braved the wind and the rain, walking back and forth, keeping a watchful eye on his beloved boat. The little boat was lifted high atop a wave and then dashed back into the water. It shuddered from the force. “All is lost,” the boat cried out. “I can’t hold together.” A few boards splintered and broke off, washing away into the churning sea.
“You’ll make it!” the Captain yelled into the din of the storm.
“The storm is too much,” worried the little boat.
“Trust me” shouted the Captain, as he leaned into the wind and turned the little boat into an oncoming wave. Hour after hour, the boat battled the raging sea. As the sun slowly rose over the horizon, the storm gave up. Blue skies stretched out for miles and miles.
The Captain explained to the little boat as they rode calm waters back to shore, “I grew your lumber. I planed your boards. I built you by hand. You may fray and splinter, but you’ll never come apart. I built you to withstand the storms.”
That’s how He built us, too. He grew our lumber. He planed our boards. He built us by hand. We are God’s beloved ships, each of us on a course that He has set; a course that we can trust, even in the storms.
“Be still, and know that I am God…”
“Where are you today, God?” I asked as I ran out the door to yet another business meeting. My heart ached for Him.
“I told you where I am, Sparrow,” God answered me. “You’ve been choosing to ignore my words.”
“Yes. You choose to hurry about your day, fretting over things you can’t control. You schedule one thing after the other. When you do have down time, you check your phone for messages, emails or social media posts. You can’t connect with me because you don’t slow down, stop, and be still. I’m in the stillness,” God said ever so gently.
I thought about God’s words for a moment. He was right. The more I do, the more I feel disconnected from Him.
“Do you know why silence is so important?” God asked me. “The answers are in the silence. Silence and stillness, Sparrow. Come and find me there.”
When I got home later in the day, I found a quiet place in my garden. I did my best to sit in the stillness and the silence and ignore my chattering mind. And you know what? God was there in the silence. In the stillness. In me. I felt His presence. I heard His answers. My heart no longer ached.
“We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”
This morning, I picked a bouquet of fall flowers and put them on my desk. Each blossom was beautiful in its own way. All throughout the day, I admired their colors: yellows, oranges, purples, and greens. The colors were softer, duller than the spring and summer blooms that were bright and bold. I liked this quieter palette. It suited the shorter days and the slowing down from the activities of the warmer months.
I thought about how important color is in God’s creation. It attracts mates. It repels predators. It delights us in unexpected ways. I thought about how focused we’ve become on color the past few days. Red and blue have been hot topics this election week. How we voted suddenly determines how people react to us, as if our political views totally define us. (They don’t.) I thought about the deep divide in our country and wondered how it is going to heal. How will we come together, instead of standing apart?
We certainly can’t heal and unite if we continue to see red and blue when we look at each other. We have to see flesh and bones. We are all human being with the same wants, desires, and needs; the need to be heard. The need to be seen. The need to be understood. The need to be respected, and the need to be loved.
Let’s see each other’s true colors—our beautiful souls— as belonging to God and to each other, instead of seeing our politics, religion, or any other label that would set people apart as “other.” There is no other. There is only us.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people
whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
Once there was a dream that was the United States Of America—a nation created by the people, for the people. Today, that dream manifests itself as we vote for the man or woman to lead this great country. It has been an exceptionally tumultuous election year. The dark wounds of our nation became evident— fear, hatred, greed, corruption, and misuse of power. We saw our worst selves over and over again, played out in the news and on social media.
I pray that our new President begins the work of repairing our wounds so that every man, woman, and child can feel heard, seen, safe, and respected, no matter the color of their skin, their religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, immigration status, or politics.
God, I lift my country up to you in humble and earnest prayer. Help us to keep alive the dream that our forefathers had so many years ago—this great experiment called democracy. May we know peace and prosperity. May we truly be one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.