Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crunching Numbers and Feathered Friends

Last night I was doing some number crunching. Right before bed. Not a good idea. No matter how much I frowned and fussed over my scribbled calculations, one plus one would not equal what I needed it to equal. Darn math.

Later that night I lay in bed, in the dark, listening to my rhythmic breathing through the Cpap machine and the frantic chaos in my head. What if, what if, what if. Thinking thoughts that were exhausting me and keeping me awake at the same time.

I was also praying, but not in the official, our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name way. From the very beginning of my life with God, the only time I don't just assume that God is present in the midst of my inner dialogue is when I am thinking about something I'm pretty sure He won't approve of. Then I just pretend He's not there, because of course, He knows everything. Which I know is true because when I am in repentance mode after the stupidities that I allowed myself to think begin to bear yucky fruit in my life, He always wants to return to the scene of the crime, which He is eerily familiar with even though I had convinced myself that He wasn't even there.

So, I was lying in bed, fretting and trying to work out the exact nature of the miracle that I was going to need God to perform for me in order to make the debit and credit columns of my checkbook add up. I asked Him, again, to show me that He is taking care of me. He's made it pretty obvious over the years, and especially over the past few months, that He is serious about meeting my needs. Still...

I believe, Lord, help my unbelief. I am beginning to think that I use this verse as a cop out. I understand that God is so humongous and amazing and wonderful that I will spend all eternity learning about Him and still only tap the surface of who He is. So there will always be some level of stunned disbelief when faced with a new level of His character and power. Still, I can get lazy about my disbelief, make excuses for it, ask for signs just because it's too much trouble to choose to believe based on God's past faithfulness.

In any case, I asked God to, once again, show me that He was taking care of me.

This morning, I took Grace to the teen day camp that she as been attending all week at St. Andrew's in Huntingdon. On the way back, I pulled into my parking space, got out of the car and noticed two mourning doves on the road together, a robin on the lawn next door and a sparrow taking a bath in a puddle at the end of my driveway. I leaned up against the car to watch them. They were going about the business of their day, utterly care-free. Bathing, finding food, hanging out together. Living life, one day at a a time, one moment at a time. It was beautiful.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25- 34

Do not worry. Do not fret. Once again, message received. The ironic thing is that as I was turning onto my street, I was thinking that I needed to stop whining at God about signs, that I needed to grow up and believe. God knows me better than I know myself. I am entering entire new territories of trusting God here. I willingly follow God into the deep waters of circumstances and relationships that test my faith and invite me to love others in radical, powerful ways through the work of God's Spirit in my life. I stumble and fall...a lot. God keeps inviting me to get back up, and I do. There are times when God is tougher on us than we ever imagined He would be. Then, there are times when, even though we know we don't deserve it, God meets us where we are, with gentleness, kindness and divine understanding.

Yes, I asked for a sign. If God had said, no sign, I would have been okay with that. Instead, He gave me a glimpse of His care in a diverse group of fine feathered friends, living life as it is meant to be lived, with freedom and trust and in community. As far as signs go, it was a good one.

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