Ash and I had a great conversation this morning about life, and he mentioned a recent talk with God where he wondered how he would ever continuing in ministry without me. While it was a morbid thought of losing a wife, what happened next was profound.
Ash reasoned with God how he would just have to live a life that far exceeded his ability.
But the thought thundered:
Why aren’t you living this way now?
Why not live a life right now that far exceeds your ability? It’s a life of the supernatural, of the kind of faith stories you read in Acts. It’s the life of not depending on your own strength, resources, abilities, insight, personality, or partnerships. It’s a life of wonder. Of miracles.
This morning while reading Psalm 145, I took note of how the word “kind” repeats. We’re told how God is “kind in all his works” two times.
I like thinking of the kindness of God. It’s such a warm word. When I think of God as kind, I think of His generous, patient, attentive, interested, and loving nature. It feels grandfatherly and wonderful. A kind God looks down upon you with love and affection and even delight. He’s probably hiding a gift in his pocket for you. A kind God scatters goodness and joy. You go to Him, and He’s ready to make everything right for you.
God is kind.
As I move about my day, I want to reflect the kindness of God to others. May we have kind faces, loving words, generous actions, and choices that help make things right for others.
Today I remember what my wise student told me about stress. She said, “The work is not stressful. Thinking about starting the work is stressful. Just get started.”
It’s true. The work is rarely stressful. It’s the thinking about the work that causes stress. I’ve been worried about a project for nearly a month. I dreaded starting it. I fretted and prayed. Then, I sat down to do the work.
The work itself wasn’t stressful at all. Thinking about it was. Doing it? Not stressful.
I love to remember that God is not confused. When I feel confused, unsure, or unable to know how to think properly about something, I think about how God is “greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20). I also remember David’s prayer in Psalm 139 for God to search him and know his heart and then lead him “in the way everlasting.” David recalled that God can “discern [his] thoughts from afar” (2) and searches out the paths he should take (3).
These words make me wonder if David felt confused, unsure, and unable to think properly about something. He appealed to God’s clarity, understanding, and clear paths. God is never confused. He is greater than our hearts and minds. When we cannot trust our ourselves, we trust God who is greater and knows everything.
I meet with a new friend who decided to change her mindset in life. Instead of always imagining the worst case scenario and letting her mind go down the dark trails of what if this or that, she now thinks things like this:
What if something amazing happens?
What if all my dreams come true?
What if there’s a blessing here?
What if I see God in a great and powerful way?
I love her vision of the best case scenario to keep her heart and mind joyful, at ease, and hopeful.
I’m standing on Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg. I’m here for a conference with Cru. On the ridge, you have the advantage of visibility. You even have gravity on your side. I look down across the battlefield as the sun begins to set.
Our instructor tells us that the Battle of Gettysburg was won by taking the high ground. Whoever has the high ground in warfare wins. One only has to stand on Cemetery Ridge or Little Round Top to see what the generals saw. I learn that when arriving on new terrain, the first question must always be this: How can I take the high ground?
Our instructor mentions Ephesians 2:6 as well and how we have been raised with Christ and are now seated in the heavenly realms. We have taken the high ground. We are able to see things from the perspective of God’s power, purpose, and provision. If I could add anything to my book, Seated with Christ, I would focus on another little word: up. God raised us up with Christ. We are far above the fray. We have the high ground.
You know the expression to “just roll with it”? I love the image of being the kind of person who just “rolls” with whatever happens. I picture myself as a cozy ball just rolling down the hill, enjoying the landscape and the breeze. The opposite of rolling feel like braking. You’re stiff and unmoving. You’re unwilling to go with the flow.
The older I grow, the more I’m learning to “Just roll with it.” Plane delays? Roll. Change in plans? Roll. Interruptions? Roll.
Last night, I popped into a backyard Bible study group in town who will study Included in Christ. As we talked about living in the truth and not letting Satan attack us with lies, we remembered the scene in The Wizard of Oz where Glinda laughs in the face of the Wicked Witch who threatens her. She exclaims, “Rubbish! You have no power here! Be gone!”
I remember that as I stand in my identity in Christ, clothed with His righteousness, I can laugh to the enemy and say, “Be gone! You have no power here!”
The creamed spinach was excellent! We gobbled it up! So that recipe makes the recipe binder cut. In other news, I’m glad to report I’ve encouraged my potted plum tree to arrive at the perfect shape. It’s adorable!
Now, I’ll insulate the pot (to protect the roots from too much cold) and let the tree enjoy winter on the porch; it must meet its chilling requirement before blooming next spring. One might think it needs the warmth of an indoor spot, but no. It must chill. I remember we all have our own chilling requirement. (PS: A fruit tree in Pennsylvania needs approximately 1,000 hours of cold-weather rest before bear
ing fruit. Some of you needed to hear that. Go rest. Go chill. Take 1,000 hours.)
Along with the other two plum trees growing in the backyard, this potted plum will hopefully bear fruit next year. What have I learned? A gardener prunes and cuts to get the right shape. I think about the shape of my own life and how we can thank God for the way we’re growing. We can thank Him for what life looks like. He knows what He’s doing.
Next, I’m amazed at what happened to a drooping indoor plant that kept straining toward a window. It wasn’t thriving. It seemed deflated.
My husband put a full-spectrum plant light over the plant stand (which he made in the woodworking shop!), and within a few hours, the plant reaches joyfully upward. It knows what good light feels like. It know what it needs. I pray we all reach joyfully upward to God’s light today. When we find Jesus, it’s what real light feels like. It’s what we’ve always needed but didn’t know. Reach up! Bask in it. Inflate. Thrive.