God rejoices over us with singing.
The lonesome cries of the Canadian geese circling overhead woke me from my slumber. Dawn’s first light peeked into my windows and I snuggled under the warmth of the blankets. It was a cold morning. Tempted to drift back to sleep, I closed my eyes. A beautiful song then filled the room. I opened my eyes. “Is that you God?”
“Yes,” God answered me.
“Why are you singing this early in the morning?” I asked.
“I’m rejoicing over you,” God said gently.
“Rejoicing? What did I do to deserve that?”
“You didn’t do anything. I’m just delighted that you are mine,” He said, and returned to His singing.
I could scarcely take that in. The great I Am rejoicing over me! The geese circled back and joined their voices with God’s as the sun warmed the room. I could think of nothing better to do than to share this glorious feeling, this love from God with you. Listen. He is singing over you, too.
God is my rock.
Unexpected clouds gathered above and brought the wind with them. “Let’s go take a walk in this autumn weather,” I invited God. We hiked up the ridgeline and beyond the ravine, then followed along a mountain stream. The world was quiet, save for the babbling of the water and the crunch of boots on dry leaves.
“See where that stream seems to stop over there by those big boulders?” God asked. “It’s been forced underground for a while. Eventually, it will burst back to the surface and be clean and fresh from having traveled through the rocks.
“That’s pretty amazing,” I said.
“When life forces you into dark and narrow places, let me be your rock. Let me wash you clean and give you the energy to burst back out into the light,” God said.
“I’ll remember that in times of trouble.”
The clouds gathered more strength, the sky darkening. “Let’s turn back home,” God suggested and reached out His hand to help me scramble down the hillside.
“Will you be my rock in the good times, too?” I asked.
“I’ll be your rock forever and always,” God said and squeezed my hand. I wondered if it would start to rain before we made it back to the cottage—but I knew that even if it did, I’d be alright with my rock there beside me.
The Spirit lives in you.
New to my church, I volunteered to help clean the fellowship area one morning. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor—the door propped open— when two other volunteers walked by. Instantly I felt the desire for recognition. I wanted them to know what a good job I was doing. “Why does my ego have to rear its head, God?” I asked.
“Human nature,” God replied.
“It makes me feel needy,” I said and frowned.
“If you stand firm in my Spirit you won’t need anyone to tell you that you are good or worthy,” God explained. “You’ll know that you are.”
A stubborn stain on the floor caught my attention and I put more effort into scrubbing. “Thank you for your service,” God said.
I smiled. “Thanks for saying. As long as you’re happy with my efforts in life, it doesn’t matter what other’s think.”
“Let my love be enough for you,” God said softly.
“I’ll do my best,” I replied.
“That’s all you can do,” God said, and gave my head a sweet pat. “Oh, and you missed a spot over there,” He said and pointed.
“I did?” I asked.
“Just kidding. Come on, let’s go get a muffin and some tea when you are done,” He invited.
“Let me put my supplies away and you’re on!” I closed the bathroom door and God took my latex-gloved hand in His and we walked down the hall together.
God, you know me.
Its once proud branches now broken into firewood, the pear tree resists the flames. I light another match, breathing on the kindling, coaxing it to stay lit. I’ll need all the heat the stove can muster on this cold morning. Finally, the wood catches and I watch the flames walk the length of the log, casting shadows on the wall.
How many years had the pear tree stood in the orchard before it was consumed for my comfort, I wondered? How many hands had reached up and plucked its fruit?
“God, I want to acknowledge the life of this tree,” I said. “I want to pay my respects to what I imagine was a productive life.”
“It was a good tree,” God said. “I’ll miss it.”
“Of course I will. The tree is with me now, but I’ll always remember where it stood,” God explained. “I remember every living thing that I created.”
“That’s incredible. You know every detail of your creation?”
“I know the hairs on your head,” God said, and gave my hair a playful tousle. “I know and love everything I’ve created.”
The burning pear tree now felt sacred to me. We are both creations of the Living God, intimately known, and deeply loved. I appreciated its warmth even more.
God is merciful and forgiving.
The deer were here again last night, soundlessly dining on the zinnias. Afterward, they lay down in them, flattening out the once tall, proud plants. I want to feel angry but cannot muster the emotion. I know the deer are hungry, and I, the foolish city girl, planted a smorgasbord for them. I lifted the wounded branches out of the soil and placed them on the compost bin.
“You’re learning how to be a country girl,” God said to me.
“Apparently, there is a lot to learn,” I replied and smiled.
“Experience is the best teacher,” He said.
I nodded in agreement.
“Next year you’ll plant deer-resistant flowers.” I nodded again.
“If only life’s missteps were as easy to correct as replanting a flower garden,” I said.
“Oh, but they are! You’ve got grace and forgiveness to help you,” God said warmly.
“You make it sound so simple.”
“It is simple!” He said. “Just as you felt compassion for the hungry deer, I feel compassion for all of my children. I know they are going to make mistakes.”
“But you love us anyway, don’t you?” It was more of a statement than it was a question.
“Of course I do,” God said. “Just like I love my hungry deer.”
I looked out over the garden and felt connected to all of God’s creation; all of us learning as we go.