But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy…Acts 5:39
I can’t believe what I’m about to type; this week marks the 5th anniversary of the Joyful Words Blog. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I promised him 5 years ago that I would write 2 posts a week. I had no idea what work, stress and enormous grace this writing would become in my life. This verse is perfect for today because this is all so clearly his work. I’ve had several occasions over the past 5 years when I was ready to throw in the towel and say, “really God…isn’t this enough…I’m not trained as a writer…there is so much I don’t know about you…there are people so much smarter and more eloquent to do this work…can I be done now?” Our deal was, as long as he gave me the words and the energy I’d do whatever he asked and on those mornings when I sat down at 4 am with NOTHING to write, he always came through and something spilled out through my finger tips onto the screen. The other part of our arrangement was that he needed to find a way to let me know his words were touching someones heart, so each comment, like and share is confirmation from the Father that I’m not done yet. I’ve drug my feet and pouted a few times but he always makes good on his promise and the outpouring of His Holy Spirit on these pages never ceases to amaze me. He is faithful, he is mighty and he’s using my fingers; how lucky am I!
I looked up the symbol for 5th anniversaries. I was expecting something cool like a ruby or a fine metal. I was excited to search and tie something fun into todays post about this special anniversary. However, much to my dismay, the symbol for 5th anniversaries isn’t something shiny or fancy at all, in fact it’s quite dull and disappointing. My search revealed that the symbol is wood…yeah you read that right, WOOD! Yikes! How anticlimactic is that! Before I tossed that dumb idea out I stopped to think and pray for a bit and it hit me! It’s such a God thing to use something ordinary like wood, to touch our hearts and come to us at our level. It’s such a God thing to invite us, as author Henry Nowen suggests, to find the Sacred in the Ordinary.
Wood seemed so ordinary but if we search for and ponder the sacred, the truth is surprising. In Exodus, Leviticus and Kings there are many verses that talk about using specific types of wood to build altars for worship and sacrifice. If we think about it, some of the most amazing stories in Scripture used wood as the instrument of God’s greatness and saving love. The Israelites painted the saving blood on their door posts, which were wood, so the Angel of Death would pass over them. The staff Moses used to part the Red Sea and bring forth water from the rock was made of wood. How about Noah’s Ark, David’s sling shot, and the yolk that is meant to make our burden easy; all wood! The most profound gift of the Father’s love was his Son Jesus and there was wood involved in his arrival and his departure from his earthly life. At his birth, he was laid in a wooden manger and a cross made of wood was the place of his death. After a tiny bit of thinking, ordinary wood took on a completely different meaning to me.
It was so ridiculous of me to wish for something shiny and fancy when a hundred times a week God shows himself in the ordinary and the simple. I should know by now that God works best that way. When I really think about it, these blog posts are pretty much wood…plain, simple, no frills. They certainly aren’t fancy or sparkly, but rather, the Father’s way of helping me and perhaps you too, learn that he is waiting to meet us in the simple, the ordinary, the everyday; and once he meets us there, he wants to lead us closer and closer to the amazing, the dazzling and the magnificent. Thanks to all of you for going with me on this journey from the ordinary to the sacred.
A Seed To Plant: Find a piece of wood and put it in your prayer space. Use it as a reminder to find the sacred in the ordinary.
Blessings on your day!
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