Endings Are The Best Part
…and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:40
We live in an “on demand” world. Movies on demand, drive through meals, pharmacies, groceries and dry cleaning just to name a few. We can order practically anything under the sun and have it on our front porch in two days, so waiting and being last aren’t usually part of our daily routine. I’m constantly on the search for ways to get things done faster and more efficiently in order to save time so I can cram more stuff into my day.
As I worked my way through this Gospel, I got excited reading about what will come to me, what Jesus will do for me, where my faithfulness will lead me. It’s such a hope filled collection of verses. I need to see Jesus, believe in Jesus and know that my faithfulness is what he’s asking of me. St. John lays out some beautiful steps to eternal life in this short Gospel but then comes that ending; the last day. I have to wait until then? What???
My fast paced mind wondered if I could speed things up a little because I don’t like waiting and who knows when the last day really is anyway! As I prayed with this reading a while I remembered my Grandma who taught me how to make the perfect Angel Food cake from scratch when I was little. She would smile and remind me that beating all those egg whites took time and baking it took time and cooling it upside-down on a coke bottle took time. She would pat my impatient hands and say, “Great things happen in the waiting!” So, I will keep believing, hoping, praying and wanting him ferociously while I wait for that last day!
To each day I need to add the words, “Loving Father, please use you gentle hand to slow me down. Grant me a spirit of patience as I notice the ways you are working in my life and help me prepare to be raised up on the last day!”
A Seed To Plant: What are you hurrying with? Where are the areas in your life God might be calling you to slow down and wait for him to work?
Eyes That Notice
“May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness…” 1 Samuel 26:23
Growing up, we had a neighbor who was one of the dearest, sweetest souls God sent to earth. We loved her so much that my brothers and I called her Grandma Marge. We weren’t related to her, but we sure were connected at the heart. Grandma Marge knew heartache, she knew injustice and she knew sadness. She also knew and loved the Lord with a fire and a passion so what bubbled from her soul was joy and laughter and a wisdom that could see right through you. She lived a wee bit more than a century and that keen wit, sweet heart and wisdom shined like a light right to the end. Grandma Marge was a master at noticing and teaching my brothers and I lessons with very few words.
Grandma Marge was one of the few people who knew that chocolate and coconut are my favorite flavors ever. I didn’t tell her it was my favorite that but she always had candy when we stopped by for a visit and I guess she noticed that was the one I always picked. I remember one day my mom sent my little brother and I over to her house to borrow some eggs. Of course we sat down for a great visit and the candy bowl was out on the table. I remember that there were circus peanuts and candied orange slices (BLECK!!!) and one of the chocolate coconut candies. I figured I was safe because my brother loved both of those awful orange candies but for some bazaar reason he ate the one I wanted. I did’t say a word and remember politely telling Grandma I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t think any more about it and after our visit she handed us the bag with the container of eggs, and we headed home. Not long after we got home, my mom called me into the kitchen to help fix supper and she told me to look in the bag from Grandma Marge. In the bottom of the bag there was a little brown sack with a note and 3 chocolate coconut candies. The note said, “I’m not the only one who notices when you do a good thing. Love, Grandma Marge”
Her note seems to scream a very relevant thought right about now. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard and seen the craziness in our country lately and I’m also sure I’m not the only one who has felt sick to my stomach and cried and prayed sometimes feeling numb with disbelief and dismay. We’ve absolutely been called to fall to our knees and pray but I’ve been feeling like it’s just not enough. I’ve been wondering how to make our nation collectively take a deep breath and begin again honestly, kindly, prayerfully and justly. Late last week I asked God, what in the heck can I do? As I sat quietly waiting for a nudge or a thought my mind went racing back to that note from Grandma Marge.
I can’t control a single person. I have no influence over anyone in power. I am not eloquent and persuasive. All I can do is share God’s truth and slather everything in prayer, but yet I was feeling so inadequate until her note reminded me of the truth. God notices when you do a good thing. God sees his faithful, especially amongst a see of unfaithfulness. Thank goodness we aren’t judged in groups or by city, state or nation. He sees us each as his beautiful child and he will notice our deeds and actions. That note from several decades ago brought me peace in my turmoil. I pondered all of it for a few days and wondered if being faithful myself was enough, and, as usual, God gave me a wink of encouragement last night. I am taking a fabulous class about Scripture and as we were wrapping up our discussion on the book of Judges which is a story of one destructive, bloody, devastating battle after another the teacher reminded us that God recognizes the faithful in all times and circumstances. Grandma Marge was right, she wasn’t the only one who noticed things.
A Seed To Plant: Write the words BE FAITHFUL on some sticky notes or cards and scatter them as a reminder that our job on this earth no matter what the chaos around us is pretty simple!
Blessings on your day!
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