In God, all things hold together
A family of crows has taken up residence in the heritage oak. They shout at one another early in the morning, their jagged squawks grating on me in these gentle hours. I cringe, wishing for the songbirds to awaken.
“You don’t appreciate my crows?” God asked.
“They are so boisterous this morning. I’d rather have some peace and quiet.”
“This is how they wake up. They greet one another,” God explained. “I designed them to be communicative.”
I thought of the hubbub in my home when my four children were little; the excited voices, the burst of early morning energy. My heart softened with the memory.
“You can do that with everyone, you know,” God said.
“Listen with your heart,” God said gently. “Every living thing has my Hands in its making. Listen for that.”
The crows continued their raucous calls. I turned toward them and listened with my heart so that I could hear God’s Hands in their voices. Soon their calls sounded like a symphony greeting the rising sun, saying hello to the miracle of a new day.
Faith comes from hearing.
The coming storm announced itself with a sudden drop in temperature as a hush descended upon the yard. The only sound—the gentle sweep of the wind. It was the first time today that I’d not heard the birds singing. It was in the silence that I felt God’s presence.
“You’re here,” I whispered, as I sat down on the wooden bench in the garden.
“Yes,” God answered.
I wanted to say more but He stopped me.
“No need for words,” God spoke softly to me. “In silence, my Spirit will fill you.”
Again, I wanted to speak but remained quiet. I didn’t want to disturb God’s work. I sat in the silence for some time, finally rising to go inside when I got too cold.
“My Spirit is a powerful force,” God said. “Tend to it inside of you. Don’t diffuse it by talking too much, to me, or to others.”
“In the silence, you’ll be renewed. In the silence, you’ll know how to share my love,” God whispered.
I walked back to the cottage as the first drops of rain fell. I closed the door behind me and sat down by the window to be with the mystery that is God.
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.
“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.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”
I’ve often thought about the passage in Philippians that hints at a “superhero” power we all have access to. We’ve got the spirit of Christ in us. That spirit allows us to face down and overcome any and all formidable obstacles in our lives. We may not leap over them in a single bound, but we can get through them until we are safely on the other side.
When we have to slog through hard times in our lives, we would do well to remember that the spirit of Christ lives within us. His spirit gives us the strength we need to keep going. That doesn’t mean that we won’t have feelings about what we’re experiencing, but it does mean that in the end, we will prevail.
It’s a comforting thought to know that Christ’s spirit, His energy, lives within us on a very real molecular level, shaping us, helping us, as we make our way through life.
“He must become greater; I must become less.”
“You’ve got to let go,” God whispered to me as I sat pondering a situation that felt overwhelming. “Don’t rely on your understanding. Lean on me. You have my Spirit inside of you. Nothing can harm that. All things are going to work out for the good,” God explained.
“It’s hard to trust that. You seem out of touch sometimes,” I confessed.
“It’s your ego that gets in the way of Me, in the way of love,” He reminded me. That’s why it’s important to have faith. Let Me become greater, while you become less and less. You’ll arrive at peace and serenity when you do that,” God promised
I thought of the emotional hooks the situation I was pondering contained. I was being pulled into negative thoughts and judgment, and away from God’s Spirit, away from His love. I was seeing the world through my eyes, not through God’s eyes.
“I’ll do my best to become less and for you to become more,” I promised.
“Good! You’ll find that life is much easier when you hand the reins over to me,” God said. I knew He meant it.