“Give thanks to the Lord…”
The mercury rose as the heat of the day bore down on the garden. The birds abandoned the feeder in search of shade. Even the busy squirrels stopped foraging under the oak trees. “It’s too hot, God,” I complained. “Can’t you turn down the thermostat a bit?” A butterfly, oblivious to the heat, bobbed from flower to flower. The color on its wings so vibrant that I couldn’t help but smile. “What a beautiful butterfly,” I said as I wiped away the sweat from my brow.
“Thank you for saying so,” God said.
I heard His words and an uncomfortable feeling came over me. I realized that I don’t say thank you to God often enough. I’m usually asking Him to do something for me—asking Him to apply Himself.
“I take back what I said about it being too hot. No need to turn down the temperature.”
“The vegetables growing in your garden will be glad to hear that. So will that lizard on the rock next to you,” God said gently.
I turned my head to see a lizard sunning itself. “Everything is in your hands, I know. Thank you. For everything. Even this heat.”
“You are most welcome,” God replied as a robin landed in the birdbath. I watched it splash about, tossing water up onto its back. When it was done it flew off leaving me with the reminder to stop asking God to do and to let God be. And, to say thank you.
“Ask and it will be given to you.”
A movement outside catches my eye. I stop writing and look out of the window. A baby bird perched on top of the feeder shakes and flaps its wings. It’s an attention-getting little dance. “Me! Me. Me!” it chirps. The bird’s mother places a seed in its mouth. Over and over I watch the mother feed her little one. After a few minutes, the baby bird is full and the two of them fly away.
I think about the times when I have felt like that baby bird, desperately in need of attention. “Me! Me! Me!” I squawk to God. Like the devoted mother at the feeder, God gently gives me something to sustain me.
A peace settles down around me—a knowing that God will always take care of His creation. He will always take care of me. And, He will always take care of you.
~1 Peter 5:6
I can only imagine where Jesus’ feet roamed. Dusty roads. Dirty floors. Weed-choked fields. Scrabbling over craggy rocks. I like to ponder the sandals that encased His feet and bore His weight. I like to think of the dust that they collected—evidence of His tireless travels to tell others about God’s love for them. I like to think about Jesus taking off those well-worn sandals at night—how they waited for Him through the long, dark hours. And I think to myself, I want to be that patient. I want to become that dusty and dirty for Him. I want to carry His weight—carry His message—that God loves us. I want to be as humble before God as the dust on Jesus’ sandals.
“Consider how the wild flowers grow.”
“I made them for you,” God said so quietly that I almost didn’t hear Him.
“Made what?” I asked as I dug my hand trowel into the wet earth.
“That was very thoughtful of you,” I said and gently moved an earthworm out of the way of my digging.
“When I was creating the universe, I thought to myself, Man will need something to remind him that I care about him. Something whimsical. Something beautiful. So I created flowers for your enjoyment,” God explained. “I hope that when you look at them you’ll realize that I love you enough to give you such delight.”
“I hadn’t thought of flowers that way before,” I replied honestly. ” I mean, I like them a lot, as you can tell by my garden. But I didn’t know that you made them just for us to understand that you love us.”
Thunder rumbled off in the distance. I looked up to see clouds moving in from the mountains. “I guess I better get out of the coming storm. Let’s go inside and have some lunch, shall we?” I pulled off my gloves and put them in the potting shed. “I want to hear more about the things that you made for us.”
“I made everything for you,” God said as I opened the door to the kitchen.
“I thought you’d say that.” I laughed. “You really do love us, don’t you?”
“If you only knew how much,” God whispered. “If you only knew…”
“…in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”
“Whatcha doing? God asked.
“Fixing the garden fence,” I said, as I hammered another nail into the post.
“That’s quite a fast swing you have there,” God said, as He peered over my shoulder.
“Uh huh. I’m sorta in a hurry,” I replied. I wiped a bead of sweat from my forehead. “I’ve got to write this afternoon.”
“Will you be in a hurry then?”
“I guess. I’m eager to get the new book done,” I explained.
“When you hurry your mind it doesn’t go any faster, “God said. “In fact, it stops. You’ll be more creative and productive if you slow down and relax. Let your mind go. Let it wander. It will take you where you need to go,” He assured me. “With everyone in a hurry these days, it’s a wonder that anyone utilizes the talents I’ve given them.” (I could have sworn I heard Him sigh right then.)
“Yeah, we’re all feeling crunched for time,” I said as I drove the last nail deep into the wood. I stood up and looked around at the garden. The sunflowers were just starting to bloom. The tomatoes sported little yellow blossoms that bobbed on the breeze. Beans reached up and wrapped around a trellis, pulling themselves up from the damp earth.
“Those plants aren’t in a hurry,” God pointed out to me. “They take the fullness of the time I’ve given them to produce. Take your time, Sparrow. Take your time.”
I walked to the gate and pushed it open. I felt the sun on my face. I felt the expanse of the day and the abundance of everything I needed.
“I’ll take my time, Father,” I said and slowly closed the gate behind me. “Yes, I’ll take my time.”
I hope that you will take your time, too.