“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
~1 Corinthians 3:16
“God, I’ve got some big decisions to make,” I prayed. “Will you help me?” I asked.
“Of course I’ll help you,” God answered.
“Thank you, I don’t want to figure this out on my own.”
“I’m glad that you are turning to me for answers,” God said. “Most people don’t realize that they have a part of me inside of them so that I am always there to help them. They think that I am some old man up in the sky far away from them. They don’t realize that not only are they in my presence but that they are the presence of me!”
“They are the presence of you?” I asked.
“Yes. Just as electricity becomes evident through the bulb, I become evident through life, through people,” God explained.
I nodded. “Thank you, for working with me to help me make a decision so that I move forward in the right direction,” I said. “And thank you for explaining that we are the presence of you. Remembering that will help me to be more kind and caring to others, for how I treat them is how I treat you.”
“Any time, Sparrow,” God said and rested His hand on my shoulder. “Any time.”
“There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.”
We’ve all had a Valley of Achor through which we must journey; scrabbling over rough terrain. But God takes the valleys of our lives and transforms them. He turns the very journey that seemed so desperate into a door of hope that opens to Him. If you’ve been struggling out in the wilderness, know that God will give you back your vineyards; the ripe fruit of your life that sustains and nourishes you.
Only the Almighty God can turn our troubles into a door of hope! And He does so, each and every time we find ourselves journeying through the rough and barren terrain of our lives. Every hard climb up and out of our valleys leads us closer and closer to God.
“But I trust in your unfailing love…”
“It’s dark in here, God,” I said as the door closed shut behind me. There was no answer. I felt my way along the walls as I slowly crept forward. “It’s a long hallway, God,” I said. I took another hesitant step forward. Where I thought I was going, I had no idea. Eventually, I tired and sat down. “It’s getting cold, too,” I called out. Still, no answer. And so I sat in the cold dark, and waited, doing all I could to keep my rising anxiety at bay.
After what seemed like an eternity, I called out again to God. “Hello? Can you hear me? I know you have to be here.”
“Of course, I’m here,” God called back.
“Why didn’t you answer me earlier?” I asked.
“I was busy arranging your next chapter,” God answered.
“My next chapter?”
“What you’ll be doing next with your life. I closed the door on your last chapter and I’ve not yet opened the next door. I’m working out the details,” God explained.
“What do I do while you’re busy working everything out?” I asked.
“Hold onto my promise,” God said.
So I sat, in the dark hallway, holding onto the promise of God, waiting patiently for Him to open the next door.
After some time had passed I called out, “Thank you for all you’re doing for me.” Just then, God opened the next door. Light flooded into the hallway and I could see what was next, and it was so beautiful!
“Lo, the day is coming to an end…”
A pale light is all that remains of the day, and soon, it shall slip below the horizon and be gone. The birds have abandoned their posts at the feeders for nests unseen. The squirrels, too, have disappeared into the woods, and the night animals have yet to appear. The only sound is stillness as I sit out under the pear trees in the garden.
“Thank you, God, for the gift of today,” I whisper, not wanting to disturb the quiet.
“You are welcome, Sparrow,” God replies.
I rise from my chair, my eyes straining in the dark to find the path back to the cottage. “I’ll walk with you,” God says, and tosses a handful of stars into the night sky to illuminate our steps. Together, we make our way back home so that I can ready myself for sleep, and for the gift of tomorrow.
“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
A hungry gopher has been pulling my sunflowers down into the warm earth, one-by-one, delighting in their deliciousness. Today, when walking the fenceline of the garden, I saw what remained of one of the young stalks. Most of it was below ground, or in the gopher’s belly. In an instant, anger flashed through me. I walked back to my cottage, my heart beating hard in my chest.
“He’s one of my creatures,” God reminded me as I closed the garden gate.
“Yes, but he’s eating my flowers,” I said.
“Your flowers,” I said rather sheepishly.
“Plant more,” God suggested. “There will be enough for the gopher’s dinner and your enjoyment.”
I turned and watched a dozen birds vying for position on the tall feeders that I fill every morning. Below them, a gray squirrel was eating the peanuts I had placed in a bowl. What’s one more hungry mouth to feed? I thought to myself, mentally making a note to buy sunflower seeds.
“Be tolerant of all that I’ve made. Including gophers. Even people,” God said.
“Only you, God, can take devoured sunflower stalks and turn them into a lesson about love.”
“That’s why they pay me the big bucks.”
I laughed. “Now you are just being silly.”
“You think that’s silly? Have you seen my platypus?” God chuckled.
I smiled, happy to get on with my day. Happy to be relieved of worrying about a gopher eating its way down a row of God’s sunflowers.