I woke up this morning to the sound of rain cascading past my window and I wanted to stay in bed. As my dog encouraged me to get up, I thought of Psalm 118:34:
“This is the day the Lord has made;” Yes, the Creator of all things, from the massive universe to the tiny fingers of a newborn baby, made this day for me. He is the one who brought my path to this place in time where I can lie in bed and watch the rain, or get up and fill my day with activity. He gives me life and I choose what to do with it.
“Let us rejoice,” I choose to give Him thanks and praise for whatever happens.
“And be glad in it.” When I feel gratitude toward God, I am filled with joy and happiness.
This can be the perfect morning prayer. It begins by addressing who the Lord is, then says what I should do and ends with how I will feel. I repeat this verse as I get ready for my day to make a difference in my mood. Grumbling is erased with thankfulness.
Do you begin your morning with the weight of the day’s agenda? Or do you take a few minutes to connect with your Creator and let Him ease your load?
The other day, I was waiting on the sidewalk for the walk sign to light up so I could continue my errands. When the signal changed, I stepped off the curb. A car turning left from the one-way street on my right just missed me as it cut the corner. I jumped backwards to avoid being pumped. As it zipped by I read the sticker on its bumper and laughed. It said, “Safety is my goal.”
That driver fell short of his goal with his in-a-rush turn. I think I’m that way sometimes. I set a goal and then the busyness of daily life distracts me. My priorities get mixed up in a moment of chaos.
It was like that one day this week. My goal is usually to make others feel positive about their selves. But I was fatigued and feeling bad so I was short with someone who wasn’t being polite. He thought it was a game and I went from crappy to grouchy to rude. And I didn’t even care I hurt his feelings, because mine were pretty irritated.
What I wanted to do was smile and ask how he was doing, since he started receiving hospice care. But I allowed my unpleasant attitude to take over. I laughed at a guy who almost ran over me but become angry at a man who simply took food before it was ready to serve to everyone. I can relate to Paul in Romans 7:15, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Have you ever looked back at an encounter and wished you had said something differently? What did you do to make amends?
Recently a relative talked about her struggles to come to terms with who she is as a gay Christian. Loneliness, isolation and confusion described her pain. I have used these very terms in my own search for identity, yet we are totally different. She is a beautiful black woman raised in a faith-filled home. I am an overweight white woman allowed to grow up without loving guidance. But our internal conflicts are fought on the same battlefield; the need for validation. Could God love us with our socially notable flaws?
God does not look at us through society’s definition of flaws or sin. He looks at us as His creation, His children and His precious treasure. He doesn’t tell us to change; He simple calls us to Himself. What He wants is a relationship. If we trust His word and seek His will, He demonstrates our value in His love and comfort. Our differences are irrelevant. Our need for God is Universal.
I thank God daily that I am not called to judge others. I believe we are to uplift one another. No one has the right to make another feel they are less valuable. Remember the poor, old woman who put her last talents in the offering? The religious men scoffed but Jesus said her heart was the one that was pure.
Whether it is wealth, race, sexually orientation or culture, is there someone you mock as not as good as you? Is mocking any different than judging?
“Seek and you will find.” I always thought that part of Matthew 7:7 referred to deep, spiritual truths. But Jesus cares about our everyday concerns and recently showed me how this verse applied to me.
One evening, a dog I was caring for touched the electric fence beyond the front yard. Her yipping pierced the air as she ran to hide. I found her and petted her soft head until she stopped shaking. I tried consoling her with dinner when I noticed that my dog, Annie was missing. The howling must have scared her. I called her name and looked in her usual hiking places. She had never run off and I grew more concerned as darkness set in.
The next morning, my husband, Jon, set out early to look for her at the neighbors and across the river at the park. No Annie.
I went to Sunday school. My thoughts were on Annie’s whereabouts. I needed to look for her, so I left before church was over and drove down the main street of our community. I asked God to show me where to look. I saw a yard sale sign, which was unusual for a Sunday. I stopped in front of the driveway lined with miscellaneous items. “Have you seen a lost dog?” I asked. My hopes built when they said a lady just left with one and pointed toward the end of the street. I quickly drove there and was reunited with my loving Annie.
Annie must have followed the car down the driveway when Jon went to the other farm shortly after the howling incident. This woman and her kids were playing in the river and Annie joined them. They took her home for the night and had just returned to Waterloo to look for her owner. If I had waited until the end of church to look, I would have missed our meeting. But I think my Guide knew that.
Have you ever lost something and asked God to help you find it? How did He show it to you?