Page 251 was a late workday so I’m doing the writing of the page the next morning. The day began with more rain on what the forecast said would be a sunny day. My morning prayers as I went about the cleaning and building prep tasks, were filled with requests for those who are still trying to figure out what recovery from hurricane Harvey looks like and for those who have been, and continue to be, in the path of hurricane Irma. People are hurting as their lives have been devastated, and more people will likely join them in experiencing great loss over the next few days. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to pray in times such as these. Many are praying that God would cause the hurricane to turn out into open water or simply dissipate altogether. While God has the ability to spare Florida from this storm just as He has the ability to spare each of us from any impending storm that comes our way, that is not the way He usually works. He can, and does, calm storms but more often in my life it is His presence that calms me as I go through the storm. If God removes the storm, how often do I think about what I’ve been spared from? When God goes with me and calms me through the storm, even through the storm of the valley of the shadow of death, I come out stronger in faith because I have experienced His power within me.
So as I pray, I do pray that the storm would weaken and/or change course so that the people in its path would be spared. But I spend more time praying that God would be with those who go through the storm and that they would seek out His presence to be their stronghold. I pray that God would be made known through His children to those who become battered and bruised and face devastation that only He can heal. I pray for a spirit of compassion to replace the one of judgment that seems so prevalent in today’s culture. I pray that the storms that seem to be battering this country would serve to ignite a spirit of love that will overcome the spirit of darkness and hatred that gets so much air time in the media. I pray that a heart of compassion would be awakened within God’s people in such a way that He is made visible to all who suffer. I pray that my eyes, ears, heart, and mind would be open to how He would have me respond in an individual way. And I pray for a revival to ignite within the people of God so that Jesus would be lifted up and even more people would come to Him in repentance and find salvation in Him.
The rain took the idea of mowing off of my list for the day, so by late afternoon I headed out for lunch then went home to take a nap before finishing up my day with the Friday night cleaning and building prep to get things ready for Sunday. At home, the sunflowers were filled with birds who were enjoying an all you can eat buffet. Today’s photo is of one of the finches as she had plucked a sunflower seed from the plant and was about to crack it open as part of her meal. Since Mary Jane planted those sunflowers there, some would say she is the one who has provided for the needs of these birds; yet the Bible is clear it is God who provides for them — just as it is clear that He is the one who provides for you and I. Too often we become so focused on the mechanism that He uses to provide for us that we miss recognizing His hand at work; but whether through the work He gives us to do, through the help of others, or through a means we can’t comprehend, God’s hand is the hand behind every good and perfect gift.
After my nap, I headed back to work around 8:30 in the evening and spent a few hours praying, cleaning, and getting the building ready for Sunday. As I took the trash out late at night, the moon was just coming over the trees on the edge of the property and once again I was reminded of how much light the world could see if each of God’s children would fully make themselves available to reflect the light of the Son at all times.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Mankind can study, plan, and calculate with great accuracy but our predictions will still sometimes miss the mark.
- “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Good words of God from the book of James, but unfortunately judgment often seems easier.
- God can remove the storm but, at least in my life, He has more often walked with me through it instead.
- Faith trusts God in the midst of the storms we don’t understand. Fear blames Him for them.
- God has all the resources necessary to fully care for His children. Sometimes it may appear to others that He doesn’t care simply because too many of His children have kept resources in their pockets that He first gave with the intention they would be shared.
- The more fully the moon reflects the sun, the more the light shines through the darkness. While many would say, “Well, duh!”, why does it seem so hard for many of us to live the application — the more fully you and I reflect the Son, the more His light shines through the darkness.