I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
“You’re in charge,” God whispered as I opened the refrigerator door to look for something to satisfy my hunger.
“In charge of what?” I asked as I opened the crisper and reached for a shiny red apple.
“You’re in charge of the colony.”
“Colony of what? I’m not a Pilgrim,” I playfully pointed out. I took a bite out of the apple, its crisp flesh giving way as I sunk my teeth into it. I wiped the drops of juice from my mouth with the back of my hand.
“You’re in charge of your body,” God explained. “It’s a colony. You must lead it carefully so that it serves you well. Eat well. Rest. Don’t stress. And don’t let it boss you around.”
“What do you mean by that?” I asked.
“Don’t let it convince you to be a couch potato, or to feed it junk food, or to ignore good hygiene. It can try to convince you to do things that aren’t in its best interest.”
I held up what was left of the apple. “I’m doing my best to make good choices,” I said. “See?”
“Yes. I see. Now, go for a walk and get some fresh air and some exercise,” God said.
“But I have a lot of work to do on the computer,” I answered.
“You’re in charge,” God whispered.
I pondered His words. Every day I make choices that are either for my body or against it. I really am in charge of the colony and I need to do a better job as a leader. So I tugged on my tennis shoes, tied the laces, and pushed open the front door and went for a long walk. My work could wait. My body is more important.
“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.
If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides.”
~1 Peter 4:11
The sun had a few more moments to hang in the sky, so I threw on my hat and tumbled out the door for a quick walk. It had been a long day of listening to people’s suffering. My heart and head needed clearing. A gentle breeze blew past me, pushing my hat off of my head. I reached to pick it up when I heard God’s gentle whisper.
“Noah was faithful,” He said.
“Noah trusted me to build the ark, even when there were no signs of rain,” He explained.
“What’s that got to do with me?”
“I want you to serve me with the same faithfulness. I want you to do my work even if you can’t see the reason why or see the fruits of your labor,” He explained.
“You drive a hard bargain,” I said. “I’m often tired.”
“I know you are. I’ll give you the strength,” God said warmly. I walked in silence the rest of the way, pondering God’s words.
I thought about how we are all asked to do God’s work in some way. The art of ark building—heading God’s call—is simply having faith. It means that we don’t rely on our own understanding, but instead, we rely on God. I finished my walk just as the sun turned out her light for the night. I sat in the dark of my garden for a few minutes before heading on into the house. “I’ll need your help. I can’t do it on my own,” I whispered.
God put His loving hand on my shoulder. That was the only answer I needed.
“Rise, let us go…”
“God, the storms in my life get me so discouraged,” I confessed as I readied myself for sleep. “I think about Jesus, and the storms He had to go through. When He knew that He would be betrayed after the Last Supper, He said, ‘Rise, let us go,’ and walked to His execution on the cross. How could He do that? How could He so willingly face such torture when I can barely face the problems I have?” I asked.
“Because I was with Him, just as I am with you, Sparrow,” God said softly.
“But I’m not as brave or as strong as Jesus.”
“You don’t have to be,” God answered. “Just trust me. That’s all the strength and bravery that you need—your love for me,” God said and put His hand on my shoulder. “Everything is going to be alright. The storms will pass.”
“Thank you for reassuring me. And thank you for your Son.”
“You are welcome,” God said. “Now, get some rest.”
I promised myself that in the morning, I’d face whatever I had to face with God’s help—I would do my best to rise and go.
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”
While I was out of town visiting my children, the weeds in the garden grew so tall that I could barely get to the plants. I wanted to clear them out, but the summer’s heat and the smoke from the nearby wildfires stopped me. Every time I went out to water, I felt a pang of guilt—the garden looked so forlorn and unkempt.
Yesterday, I was able to tug on my overalls and sit on the soft, damp clay and dig out the offending growth. I had hours of work ahead of me, but I didn’t mind; I had the bees to keep me company. They buzzed about my head, visiting the blossoms. The birds sang sweet songs to me, perched in the pear trees. The wind ran her fingers through the tall Poplars, just beyond the fence; the sound of the leaves a little symphony.
“Thank you, for this beautiful day, God,” I said. “Thank you for this garden and all the life around me.” I popped a cherry tomato in my mouth and savored the burst of flavor. I lovingly lifted a wayward branch, heavy with fruit, and placed it back inside the tomato cage. “Jesus said that how we treat the least of us is how we treat Him. Does that include how we treat tomato bushes?” I asked, smiling. “I hope that you feel my love for you this morning.”
“I do,” whispered God.
“Good, because I adore you,” I said. The simplest of tasks can be worship if we allow them to be, even weeding a vegetable garden on a warm summer’s morning.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others…”
“I want you to be a light for others,” God told me on our morning walk together.
“I thought I was already,” I said, rather defensively.
“Yes, but I want you to really shine now. Really burn.”
“What about burning?” I asked. I wasn’t thrilled with the word.
“The work of being a candle is that it has to burn in order to share its light,” God explained.
“You want me to burn?” I asked. I’m sure God could hear the concern in my voice.
“I want you to burn with my love for you. I want you to be on fire with the Holy Spirit. I want you to shine so brightly that other’s hearts will be illuminated.”
“So, it’s a metaphor, this fire you speak of,” I said, relieved.
“Of course it is Sparrow,” God smiled. ” I want you to fall even more in love with me. I want you to trust me even more than you do.”
“How do I do that?” I asked.
“I’ll help you,” He said gently as He rested His hand on my shoulder.
God wants you to do the work of burning for Him, too. To share your light with others, you’ve got to be on fire for God. It doesn’t happen on its own; you’ve got to strike the match. Ignite your reality with God.