Many years ago, my husband and I walked through a Japanese Tea Garden. It was a lovely, peaceful place. The land had been landscaped and the trees trimmed. It had been transformed.
So with my life. As I go through rough times, I am prone to dwell in fear or anger. It doesn’t help the situation, but it is hard not to react that way when I don’t the pain and grief.
But like the gardener who does beautiful things with the land, God is a gardener who does beautiful things with my life. He can give me peace in the midst of His trimmings and diggings. He has given me a promise that has become dear to my heart: Proverbs 3:5-8. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your way straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
Recently a friend told me her mother had died of brain cancer about four years ago. She had quoted those verses to her daughter many times. It was her life verse. Now, during this difficult time, she clung to it. It gave her peace and strength.
As I have experienced trials, God has used them to minister and strengthen others. I am grateful. I often think how God gave His Son so we may have life. Can I do less than suffer graciously so I can give comfort to others–maybe even life?
God alone knows where the trials lead and how they will end. I’m glad He does. Someday I can ask Him about those things. Meanwhile, I ask for grace to trust Him and experience His peace through all the stormy skies and rough roads.
Not just the story of one day but revelation of God’s ways. To save men from eternal death, God Himself came to the earth. Born a baby long ago, His love and grace now to bestow on men that they may reign with Him, no longer slaves to death and sin. Darlene Estlow 2014
I ask myself, am I continuing to be thankful? Scripture tells me to be thankful at all times! One of my favorite verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What? In all circumstances? When I tear my meniscus and have pain no matter what I do? When I get strep throat and then a cold? When my finances don’t seem to be what they should?
But then I am reminded that God’s will is that I be thankful. And for that, He gives me peace and joy. Oh, things don’t automatically become better (though they may), but I know that He is listening to me and I can trust Him. He is in charge. After all, He is not my personal servant boy, waiting on hand to give me whatever I ask, or my Aladdan with a magic lamp. He is the Creator of the Universe who showed His love and care about 2000 years ago when He came to earth to die for me! Through that, He has opened heaven’s door to me. This life is so short (though in suffering it doesn’t seem so!) and ahead of me lies heaven since I have embraced Jesus as God eternal and my Savior.
So I ask myself, am I continuing to be thankful? I must admit, too often I am not. But when I come back to God’s will for me and express thanks for the marvelous gift of coming as man to earth (an event we are soon to celebrate), plus the gifts He has given me, He gives joy and peace. This life with all its sorrows and pain will soon come to an end and then the decision I have made about Jesus will bring joy and peace forever.
The results of our election for the President have left some feeling hopeless. They fail to realize that government isn’t the answer. Hope came to earth 2000 years ago when God Himself came to earth and with His life, death, and resurrection showed us there is more to life than what we see here. This life is not all there is. I am so glad.
For those who have lost hope, regardless of the situation:
In the middle of bitter days,
God gave me a seed of hope.
I buried it deep in the soil
of my heart, far from the
probing eyes of the Spirit of God.
I feared the Light that He Is
would cause it to live and thrive
and bring pain. But God plowed
my heart with His Word and watered
the soil with His love. My heart
surrendered to the growing
seed and yielded a garden
of joy and trust in the living God.
The bare, winter tree stands like a sentinel outside my window. I see it every morning as it glows in the beams of the rising sun. During the summer, it was covered with leaves, and I loved seeing it whenever I was in my room. However, fall came and it yielded its green covering to the wind and weather.
But I still love it! Yesterday, it a lone bird, I think a cardinal, perched in its top branch for a few minutes. Then he flew off and suddenly several other birds flew into the bare branches and sat for awhile. What a treat to watch them descend into its branches and perch there. in the summer, I can’t see them sitting there.
As I watch the sun turn the horizon and my tree into gold every morning, I think of how God often compares His people to trees. I am meant to bear fruit, but there are times I feel like that tree, barren of anything that looks worth anything. However, like that tree, golden red in the dawn, I may not feel beautiful, but when God’s light in Jesus shines on me, I reflect His beauty. And that is far superior to anything I may show forth.