There in that place…

The days rush by, and I think about my grandnephew, whose days are unending, his nights just long enough to remember the tilled fields of spring followed by the green expanse of crops pulsating in summer’s breezes, broken only by the creek winding through our land connecting farm to farm where family wait for his return.

There in that place where even subtle sins are noted, he is lost amidst the many who are watched day and night yet never known beyond surveillance screens that reveal everything yet nothing of the boy he was when he became a man when he was barely more that just a boy.

Like any child who looks for love, he found it in the gentle words of his grandfather, who taught him how to put together and take apart the toys of boyhood one block at a time. And, as he grew older, he watched and learned under the gaze of his almost-dad, who was not there when the judge handed down the ruling that took him away from everything he loved.

He had looked for love so many times in the circle of other wounded children grown up, who saw each other through the glazed eyes of alcohol-induced laughter that hardly hid the pain that roiled deep inside. And the alcohol that took him away from the pain tore the best friend he had ever had from his days and his nights where now the constant glare of prison lights robbed him of the dreams he longed for.

He made himself remember the fresh smell of rain on tilled fields, the familiar aroma of oil and grease in his grandpa’s shop, the joyous atmosphere of family dinners and the sound of his mom’s laughter, the combine’s roar and the sound of the grain swirling up the auger to the bins. He thought of the clicking sounds Grandpa would make as they waited for their plates of BBQ to come at noon and the nudges in greeting from friends and farmers who filled the room from 12 to 1.

He remembered so much and then could take no more and waited in the still dorm as snoring ceased and breaths were held, as the dreaded prospect of one more endless day began.

O, Holy Father, just as Your Son burst forth from the grave, invade that stark place with the reality of Your Presence. Break into hearts and flood them with Your Perfect Love. Shatter the walls that conceal the men you created them to be, and destroy the plans of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy their very lives. Birth hope in jaded hearts this day, and set them aflame for You.

It’s time…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people come into our lives, with many staying but most around only for perhaps a season or maybe two before moving on. People who we’ve worked with, gone to different churches with, who’ve been our neighbors at one time or maybe even close friends who, one day, are no longer in our sphere of influence.

When we’re really following Christ, which, for me means intentionally doing what I know He would do, do we pay attention to the moments God gives us each day to reach out physically to bless someone, even if it’s just to speak a word of encouragement? You know the ones I’m talking about–the ones we put on our prayer list and stand with in faith, believing for healed marriages, rescued children, restored health, and work opportunities. 

Most of the time we’re not there when the prayers are answered, but we continue to ask in faith, believing that God will finish the work He began. I like how Paul said it in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9: I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are fellow workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Am I doing my part, or am I so busy that opportunities to plant and water come and go without my notice? Seriously, am I really a fellow-worker in God’s service? Who is standing in my field? Who is there in my building? Who is God telling me to encourage? Don’t you think it’s time we paid attention? We have this day, this moment in time to make a difference. Will we?

What is it you have for me?

What is it that you have for me? I cannot help but wonder.
I do not want drama, jealousy, offense, and a hundred other negative emotions bombarding my happiness, and so I surrender to whatever it is you want for me,
knowing my will and yours will be one.

Where will I be?
In a tiny cottage where the blue
Of living waters beckons me each morning,
Thoughts of you captured in print for others to see?

You know, Lord, and somehow that is enough to stop my wondering
Short of conjecture that serves no purpose.
And so I put my trust in you
Who knows my True North
And the path that leads me there.

Give mercy this day, I hear you say,
The same unmerited favor given to you.
Slip into her shoes and walk with her—
In thought, pray
In word, build her up
In deed, be His hands, His feet.
Just be Jesus.
Quietly, confidently, just be Jesus!

And be not weary in well doing—let us not get tired of doing the right thing, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9