“Do not be anxious about anything…”
On the wind, the Starlings fly; their soft bodies pushed side to side as they navigate the coming storm. Instinctively, they take refuge in the oak tree just outside my window. I watch a mother squirrel lead her baby across the lawn. Together they climb the magnolia tree to wait out the rough weather. The Juncos eating at the bird feeder take flight as it swings with each new gust. I sense a shift in the temperature as the clouds burst open.
I marvel at God’s creation. He instilled intelligence in all of His creatures. Everything works perfectly together; all the minuscule pieces aligned by God’s hand. Everything that I see in the world enables me to trust all that I can’t see.
The storm slowly spent its fury. The clouds rolled away leaving a blue sky shining with promise. The animals left their safe harbors and once again, went about the business of the day. So too, do I. Out beyond the storms of my life I go with God. I trust Him with all of my tomorrows—with all that I cannot see.
God works all things together for the good.
I bowed my head in prayer. “Dear God, I’ve got some regrets,” I confessed. “I’ve made some bad decisions in the past.”
“When you made the decisions, did you feel that they were the best at the time?” He asked.
“Yes. Of course,” I answered.
“Did you learn anything from the decisions?” He questioned.
“Yes,” I replied.
“What was the biggest lesson you learned from?” God asked.
I pondered the question for a few moments. “To trust you instead of relying on my ego,” I answered honestly.
“Then the decisions that you regret ultimately worked out to the good because you’ve learned to trust more,” God exclaimed.
“I hadn’t thought of it that way,” I said. “Thank you for pointing that out.”
“Anytime,” God replied. “Come on, let’s go for a walk,” He suggested. I tugged on my hiking boots and the two us walked out of the cottage together. My steps haven’t felt that light in a long time.
“Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time…”
It had been a long day. I curled up on the couch and scrolled through my Facebook feed. I clicked on a dozen or more links and read the stories. An hour went by. Then two. Three. I was deeply engrossed in a video when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder.
“Are you wasting time?” God asked me.
“I’m unwinding after a hard day,” I explained.
“The most valuable asset you have is time,” He told me. “Use it wisely.”
“Sure thing, God,” I said, not really paying attention to Him as I scrolled to yet another video. My stomach began growling, insisting that I eat dinner. Reluctantly, I put down my laptop and found my way into the kitchen. I had to turn on the lights as the sun had long ago said goodbye to the day. I was a bit disoriented, intoxicated from the social media binge. I washed vegetables and chopped up chicken to stir-fry, and thought about God’s words.
“You’re right, God,” I said. “I do spend too much time on social media. It takes me away from what’s real. What’s important. It takes me away from the people I love. Tomorrow, I’ll pay more attention to what’s important.”
“You’ll be happier and healthier if you do,” God said gently. And of course, He was right.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control, are the fruits of God’s Spirit.
I walked the garden this afternoon as a cool breeze swept across the field, scattering the leaves at my feet. I buttoned my sweater and looked out over the crops—they were withering—headed towards their demise—and I wondered, at the end of my days, what will my life have produced?
“Live a life guided by my Spirit and the harvest from your life will good and plentiful,” God spoke softly to me.
“How do I follow your Spirit?” I asked.
“Live from your heart, not your head. Believe the love I’ve put inside of you, instead of the stories you tell yourself,” God instructed. “And slow down; trust my timing.”
“I’m impatient, I know. I’m sorry,” I said.
A gust of wind rushed past me—the plants bowed down in its strength. I followed their lead and bowed my head to God. “Thank you for the food this garden gave me. Thank you for your love.”
The plants stood back up as a calm settled down over the garden. I turned and slowly made my way back to the cottage to gather firewood for the cold night ahead.