“Yours is the day, Yours also is the night…”
I put my blowup mattress on the back porch last night, eager to sleep out under the stars. As the moon came into view, I settled down to enjoy a restful slumber. I was just about to drift off when the low growl of a cat startled me. I turned on my flashlight to see if it was one of the feral cats I feed, (instead of a bobcat or mountain lion) but I couldn’t see it hiding in the berry bushes. I settled back down again. A minute later a noise on the nearby tree caught my attention. My flashlight revealed a rather large raccoon climbing down, just a mere few feet away from my face. Again, I settled down. The cat continued to growl, its anger audible. Foxes out in the ravine began calling to one another, their sharp raspy barks punctuating the dark. Bullfrogs joined the cacophony, and an unknown animal rustled through the undergrowth, cracking twigs and branches as it made it’s way unseen. I got my pillow and went back inside; the noise too distracting for sleep.
I curled up in my bed and thought about how the night animals are unknown to us; for we are fast asleep as they live out their lives. It is like a whole new universe opens up in the cover of darkness. Life goes on around us twenty-four hours a day, all set to God’s time clock; all set to His purpose. We truly are blessed to be a part of it.
“and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
“God, what’s the secret to happiness?” I asked one morning when I woke up feeling a bit depressed.
“The secret to happiness, my little Sparrow, is to get in the right place in line,” God answered.
“How can I make sure I’m in the front of the line?” I asked.
“Oh no. You’ve got it all wrong. The front of the line isn’t where you’ll be happy. You’ve got to get last in line,” God explained.
“Last? But all the people in front of me will get everything. What if there isn’t anything left for me?” I questioned.
You’re seeing my world through the lens of scarcity, through the lens of your ego,” God said. “The back of the line is where you’ll find the most amazing riches of life, for there you’ll find humility and service.”
“Why are they so important?” I asked.
“They are how you connect deeply to me. They help you to empty yourself of your ego and let my love fill you instead,” God explained. “Focus on loving me and others, instead of striving for gains for yourself.”
“And I’ll be happier if I do that?” I asked.
“You’ll be much happier when you stop focusing on yourself and you focus on love,” God said gently. “All of what ails you and the world today can be solved by letting go of ego and embracing unconditional love. Serve others, and you’ll be serving me and you’ll enjoy the abundance of my Kingdom.”
“…line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”
“God, I’ve been praying for healing for a very long time,” I reminded Him this morning when I went out walking.
“I know. I’ve heard you,” God answered.
“Are you sure? Because you haven’t really healed me,” I said.
“You’ve seen improvements, haven’t you?” God asked.
“Yes. a few things are better. But I want real healing,” I insisted.
“What do you think your improvements are?”
“I don’t know. But they don’t feel like they mean I’ll improve more,” I said.
“Each improvement is a step towards greater healing,” God said gently. “Appreciate each step in the process for what it is. Enjoy what healing you have to date, and expect more to come.”
“I’ll do my best to be grateful for the steps that have been made thus far,” I replied. “And I’ll expect more healing in the future when the time is right.”
“There you go, Sparrow. Step by step,” God said.
“For the Son of Man came to seek…”
“Ah, there you are, Sparrow,” God called to me as He opened the garden gate. “I’ve been looking for you.”
“The tomatoes needed staking,” I said. “I came out early, before the heat. What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing, really. I just wanted to hang out with you today,” He answered.
“I want to hang out with you, too,” I said.
“Great! What shall we do today?” God asked.
“What do you want me to do?” I asked.
“Whatever makes your heart happy,” He said.
I thought for a few moments. “Let’s go swimming down at the Yuba River.”
“That’s a good idea. I’m already there with a lot of other people. It can be like a little party,” God said. I could hear a happiness in His voice.
I smiled, thinking of how God seeks out our company, wanting so very much to be involved in the day to day activities of our lives. “Let me finish with this tomato bush, and I’ll go get my swimsuit.”
God smiled. “Here, let me help you,” and together we tied up the sprawling branches.
I wonder, what are you doing with God today?
“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.”
Sitting in the shade on my porch, I took refuge from the punishing heat of the summer day—the sun so intense that the trees seemed to shimmer. Suddenly, a large shadow moved across the yard, startling me. I looked up to see an enormous bird circling in the blue sky. It looked majestic; its wings outstretched, gliding on the currents. I watched its wide shadow grace the yard again and again as it soared high above.
“I don’t know why God, but that bird’s shadow brings up some emotions in me,” I said out loud.
“How does it make you feel?” God asked.
I thought of the bird’s outstretched wings. They brought to mind the outstretched arms on a cross so many years ago. “I feel safe and loved,” I said.
“You are safe and loved, my little one,” God whispered.
The bird continued to draw lazy circles in the sky, and I forgot about the heat, at least for a few moments, while I thought about God’s wonderful gifts for us and His love that we can’t fully fathom.