Jun 19 2013

Easter in June

_CES4649There’s a small flower garden on the property of the church where I serve.  As I passed it in my car this morning I felt like it was Easter in June.  There for all to see were several beautiful Easter lilies in bloom.  When I noticed them I couldn’t help but recall Jesus’ charge to “consider the lilies.”  He spoke those words in Matthew 6:28 as he encouraged his listeners not to worry.  Jesus indicated that the lilies were provided for by God.  He intimated that if God takes care of them we can rest assured that He will take care of us as well.  That is a truth I need reminded of on a regular basis.

_CES4664The fact that it was Easter lilies I was looking at led my thoughts elsewhere.   Easter lilies are trumpet shaped and might be said to herald the good news that Christ is risen from the dead.  The resurrection of Jesus, of course, stands at the heart of the Christian faith.  It was this event that caused the church to begin to worship on Sundays rather than on the Sabbath.  Everything hinged on the resurrection of Christ.  The apostle Paul went so far as to say “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17)  Even though it is now the end of June the flowers I saw this morning served as a reminder that the celebration of Easter is always appropriate.

Before the morning was over I found my mind somehow connecting Jesus’ call to consider the lilies with the message of Easter.  Certainly one of the greatest truths we find in the Easter story is that God is so mighty that not even death can stand in His way.  We may see death as the ultimate enemy but death itself has been defeated in Christ.  When you remember that God is that powerful it makes even more sense why we should not give in to the temptation to worry or become anxious.  The One who raised Christ from the grave is more than able to meet our every need.  Why should we worry when the God of Easter is there beside us each step of the way?  There is no need at all.  Some lilies told me so just this morning…


May 19 2013

Waiting on God

robin 1Today is Pentecost Sunday.  On this day Christians all around the world pause to remember how the Holy Spirit was bestowed upon the early disciples in Jerusalem shortly after Jesus had left the earth.  It is a very exciting story recorded in the second chapter of the Book of Acts.  In the first chapter of that same book the stage is set for that special day when Jesus told his followers “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (vs. 4-5)  The part of this I want to emphasize today is the disciples’ call to wait. 

For whatever reason, Jesus was not ready to bestow the Holy Spirit upon them prior to his ascension.  For that they would have to wait a few days.  It is amazing how often the Scriptures talk about waiting on God.  It is quite clear that God does not operate on the same time table we do.  We like things to happen fast but God seldom gets in a hurry.  And because God does not get in a hurry we have to wait.  Are you a good waiter?  I’m not.  I find waiting for anything I really want difficult.  I’m more of a “I want what I want and I want it now” kind of guy.  Such an attitude usually leads to a great deal of frustration.

robin 3I thought about that yesterday as I was photographing the baby robin you see in the pictures here.  Ironically, I was reading a book about John James Audubon when I saw the bird through the window sitting on a wicker chair on the porch.  The bird eventually flew into a nearby tree and I got to capture some images of it sitting there.  Not long later I noticed that the baby robin had company.  What I will assume was its mother began bringing it worms and berries to eat.  I decided I’d try to capture the feeding with my camera too.  Doing so became an exercise in patience and waiting.  I kept wanting to rush the adult robin, wishing it would hurry up and come back.  I found myself getting frustrated when it did not return as fast as I wanted it to.

The whole time I was fretting I was watching the baby bird through my telephoto lens.  I noticed that when the adult robin left the little one sometimes seemed to wait patiently for her return and at other times appeared to get agitated when she did not come back right away.   I also noticed that whether the bird waited patiently or got agitated the mother bird kept coming back with more food.  Watching all this take place in front of me got me to thinking that when we do have to wait on God for something there are two ways we may do so.  We can patiently wait on God to act, believing that His timing is best, or we can get all worked up and frustrated. 

robin 2In the end God, like the mother robin, will provide for us what we need but how we wait in the meantime is up to us.  If we know God is going to provide for us then we might as well learn to be patient and not stress out.  It does no good to get all flustered.  In fact, that only makes matters worse.  If we are smart we will simply sit back and wait, putting our trust in both God and God’s timing.

I write all of this today probably more for my own sake than yours.   There are some things going on in my life right now where I’m really struggling to be patient with God’s timing.  My natural tendency is to get anxious and upset.  While watching the baby robin yesterday I sensed God telling me “You might as well chill out.  Getting upset isn’t going to change anything.  Just be patient and I’ll come through for you when the time is right.”  That’s not what I wanted to hear but was certainly what I needed to hear.  It wouldn’t surprise me if there are others who need to hear that same message.  If so, I hope this post proves helpful.


Jun 25 2009

All I Have Seen…

brown-bear-1721I have a beautiful poster of calligraphy framed that I see every time I leave the house.  The artwork is done by Timothy R. Botts.  In the middle of the picture are words from Ralph Waldo Emerson that say “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”  Encircling the text are the names of forty-one items that Botts apparently thought demonstrated what Emerson was talking about.  Among the items there are butterfly, starfish, Old Faithful, Redwoods, snowflake, tadpoles, coral, honeybee, the tides, the Grand Canyon and Saturn. 

Looking at Botts’ list makes me wonder what I would have chosen had I been the calligrapher.  I suspect I would have added items like grizzly bear (like the one shown here in Alaska), lightning bug, showy orchis, Moraine Lake, pika, Grand Tetons, and a number of other things “I have seen.”

Looking at Botts’ list also made me wonder what you, our readers, would place on  such a list.  Rob and I would be interested to know what you have seen that has helped you know that you could trust the Creator.  We encourage you to let us know by leaving us a comment. 

–Chuck Summers