"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 NIV

Monday, July 22, 2013

Touch and be Touched

I was driving when I read it, a sign that took my attention away from the road the rest of the trip. Too lost in thought to focus ahead, I'm grateful I arrived safely. The words tugged at me.

The bumper sticker was on the back of a very old, beautiful car - baby blue, chrome, and a proud driver at the wheel. It requested, "Look, but please do not touch!"

Understandable, I guess. It was his car, to be admired from a distance. But I wondered, what's wrong with touching? Will it really hurt the car? Are dirt and fingerprints all that bad? It is, after all, a car- driven on roads that are not exactly clean.

Why did this phrase distract me from being the safe driver that I am? Because it struck me - most Christians carry this request as well.

Look, but please do not touch!

Look at me and the life that I live, but please do not touch it! Please do not make it dirty by getting close! Admire, but keep your distance! I don't want to risk losing my shine by getting involved in your mess.

There is no reward for staying the cleanest.

There are, however, crowns for compassion, blessings for loving as Jesus loved, and fulfillment in filling the needs of others. Getting involved in the lives around me is why I am here on earth for the blink of an eye. I have been blessed to be a blessing. Reaching out to touch another life is one of the best ways to stop being concerned about what is happening, or not happening, in my life.

Compassion and worry cannot coincide.

And honestly, but for the grace of God, it could be me. I could be the one needing food, a job, hope. I could have made bad choices, leading to rough circumstances. I could still lose everything this world deems valuable. What, really, is guaranteed this side of Heaven?

I want a different sign: one that says, "Look. Come close. Find help and hope."

When my days on Earth are over, I want to enter Glory with finger smudges, tear streaked cheeks, and calloused knees. 

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? (Matthew 5:46a NIV)

Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. (Matthew 5:48b MSG)

God of compassion, shape my heart after yours. I want to risk getting involved in the mess of brokenness around me. Give me a love that cannot be explained in this world, which prides itself on spotlessness. Show me where I need to think less of myself and more of others. You are especially fond of each and every one of them. Amen.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trust His Heart

"Sing me a song we've never sung before!"

This is the request I receive almost every night as I tuck my three year-old into bed. Most evenings I think for a moment, decide on some obscure song I've heard in the last week, and do my best rendition to appease the young audience member.

But a few nights ago while racking my brain, a song bubbled up from some deep spring and surprised me. It had been hidden for years, apparently waiting for the right moment to surface. The last time I heard it, I was sitting next to my parents in a church that burned down decades ago.

And the timing for this song was perfect.

"God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart"

A song I've never sung before? Not quite.
A song I need to sing more often? Most certainly, yes!

When I don't know the reasoning behind what is happening in my life, I can still trust His heart. When I don't know what the next step in his plan for me is, I can still trust his Heart. When I start to fear that I am alone, I can still trust His heart.

And His heart is always good because it is always LOVE.

As the Jesus Storybook Bible puts it, this is a "Never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever LOVE!"

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me-
 a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8 NIV)

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16 NIV)

I just might have to convince my daughter to let me sing this song over and over again.

God of love, I trust your heart. Thank you for reminding me with truth I did not even know was hidden for years. Guide me as I share this truth with my children. Help me to trust that you will bring it to the surface when they need it in their lives as well. Amen.

Monday, July 8, 2013

One Small Desire

It wasn't a huge concern. It wasn't something I was necessarily worried about. I hadn't been dwelling on it for a long time. It was simply a desire of my heart.

My mother had given me three glass dessert cups that had belonged to my grandmother. They were pretty and it made me smile when I used them. Three cups does not make a set, so I wished to find one (or more) similar cups.

I hoped to find one at a garage sale or resale shop. Honestly, I didn't make a big deal about it. I didn't pray that I would find one.

I just knew that God delights in giving us the desires of our hearts when we are abiding in Him continually.  So, I continued to seek his face.

To my amazement, the little treasure was at the very first resale shop I browsed through. The store had only one glass dessert cup on the shelf. One cup - a perfect match to the other three I had at home.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4 NIV)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

I believe all these things refers to the thousands of little details of my life. The one who created my heart knows how to make me smile, and does it quite regularly. I see him blessing me in ways that I do not even asked to be blessed.

An unexpected gift here. A "coincidence" there. A quiet moment of beauty that shifts my focus to Him. When I open my eyes, I see his hand holding mine and leading me though an amazing adventure.

Yes, one little glass cup = one great big smile with a heart full of gratitude.

Generous Lord, I love to delight in the gifts you give me. I know you love to give them. I want all the praise and glory for my blessings to go to you. You constantly amaze me! Amen.