There were in all about twelve men.
“What if you didn’t know the end of the story?” God asked me as I sat sipping my morning cup of coffee. “Would it make a difference?”
“The end of what story?” I asked.
“The story of Jesus. Early on, His disciples didn’t have proof that He was the Son of God. HIs crucifixion and resurrection had not yet taken place but they followed Him. Would you follow Him as they did?”
“I’d like to think that I would,” I answered.
“He was a rebel, remember. He came on the scene and taught things no one had ever taught before. He even broke the law and taught on the Sabbath. He turned so many things upside down. How would you know He wasn’t a troublemaker or a fraud? How would you know to trust Him? To follow Him?” God inquired.
I thought long and hard about my answer, searching my heart for my truth. “I’d like to think that I would recognize Him. That something in my heart would cry out to me, and I would know Him,” I said.
“That’s where to meet Him, every day,” God said gently. “It is there, in that knowing, in that heart-to-heart connection, rather than the proof of who He is, that fills you with His Light. That connection is the wellspring from which He pours Himself out for you.”
I put down my coffee and walked to the window to admire the dusting of snow covering the meadow. It was already melting in the warmth of the sun. “I’ll meet Him there every day,” I promised as I watched the snow turn into pools of beautiful clear water, knowing that even they couldn’t compare with the living water God offers.
The Word was made flesh and lived among us.
“How can we make sense of you God, when we can’t fully fathom you?” I asked as I hiked the nature trail in-between the storms that had been battering the area.
“Through my Son, whom I sent to you as one of you. In Him, you find your way to me,” God answered. “Why do you walk this path?” He asked me as I stepped cautiously around a big puddle.
“Because I can follow it without having to figure out where to go,” I answered.
“You don’t have to figure out where to go when you follow Jesus. He walked before you, to show you how to live. Imitate His behavior—how He lived and died as a human being.” God explained. “As the Word made into human flesh, Jesus brings you to a closer relationship with me who is beyond your human experience.”
I glanced up and saw a rainbow breaking through the clouds—God’s promise to us. I smiled, knowing that my human mind may never fully comprehend God, but I could try my best to do as He instructed. As I walked on, I thought of Jesus’ simple way of telling us how to be closer to God. “Follow me,” was all He needed to say.
God will supply every need.
A fierce wind and a pounding rain swept down from the mountains, stripping the last autumn leaves from the trees. The meadow was carpeted in a patchwork of reds and yellows. I put another log on the fire and cozied up on my chaise lounge to wait out the storm. “They look so forlorn,” I whispered to God, pointing to the trees. “They’ve lost all of their leaves.”
“Appearances can be deceiving,” He gently replied. “They aren’t forlorn at all.”
“They aren’t?” I asked.
“No. To them, loss is faith in action, for they trust that come the spring they will have new growth,” God explained. “You can allow your losses to become your faith in action, too.”
“Know that everything that has been taken away will be replaced with something else, something new,” God said. “Be patient, like the trees.”
“So, I don’t have anything to fear because loss is just a transition to something new or different,” I said.
God patted my shoulder and smiled. “That’s right.”
I looked at the trees once again and this time I saw their magnificent truth, that even in their naked vulnerability, the promise of their coming new glory was ever present.
And so it is with all of us. In our losses resides the promise of things yet to come. Good things. Things that glorify the living God who loves us.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”
Gray blankets the day. The rain is steady. I sit and look out on my garden and ponder what I will do on this wet day. My thoughts turn to the future. What will I do to continue my work of sharing God’s love? I have more questions than I do answers. But deep inside I know that whatever I do, I want to follow Jesus’ wounded feet. I want to volunteer to serve Him.
As the rain tumbles from the sodden clouds, I hear myself say the words that the prophet Isaiah said: “Send me.” I don’t know where I will be going, but I know it will be the journey of a lifetime. Won’t you come along? Volunteer. Follow the wounded feet of Jesus. See where they take you.
“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
It’s dark now; night has fallen. I’m sitting in front of a cozy fire in my garden, giving thanks for another fine day. My thoughts turn to the work week ahead, and an uneasy feeling snakes its way up my spine. Even though the fire wraps its warmth around me, I shiver, just a little. “I’ve got a lot on my plate this week, God,” I prayed.
“I know,” God answered me.
“I’m a bit unsettled about the changes that are coming. I feel rather disoriented and not very confident,” I shared.
“That’s the problem,” God said.
“What’s the problem? That I feel disoriented?”
“It’s your focus that is the problem,” God answered.
“Yes. Your focus. If you want to have more confidence, especially as you navigate through changes, focus on results, instead of your feelings. Your feelings may lie to you, or even stop you from doing what needs to be done,” He explained.
“Hmmmmm. Sounds kinda like pop-psychology,” I said.
God chuckled. “Whatever you want to call it, it works.”
“So, I focus on the results I want instead of my feelings?
“Not just the results you want, but the results of your work so far, too.”
“I’ve got to say I’m a bit surprised. Usually, you give me advice on spiritual matters, like how to love, or how to forgive,” I said.
“Your success is a spiritual matter of sorts,” God replied. “It is a part of the whole of your life. It’s important.”
“Thank you,” I said, “It’s good to know that you are looking out for me in all things.
God chuckled again. “If you only knew how much I’m looking out for you!”
I smiled and poked the fire. It was beginning to die down. “Focus on results, not feelings,” I said out loud to myself. The flames sprung to life again and I sat back, basking in the peace of knowing God’s watching out for all of my life, including my work. He’s watching out for all of your life, too.
The sun slips slowly beneath the curve of the earth. I sit in my room and watch the last rays of light splash gold and red over the trees by the garden. This is the time of day I love the most—the moments that reside between the day and night. This is when I feel the most grateful; humbly appreciative of God’s goodness.
The feral kittens I feed have pushed open the screen door, eager for their dinner. I hear them eating in the kitchen. I’ll not get up until they are finished, as I know they’d run if I walked towards them. So I sit in this stillness, watching the last bit of light fade away.
“Thank you, God, for another day,” I say softly.
“You’re welcome,” He answers and comes and sits down next to me so that I might rest my head on His shoulder. We sit there for a long time—until the kittens are done with their dinner, and it is time for me to cook my own. I rise and leave the room, knowing that He will rise and go with me—we never tire of each others company.