Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The small miracle of God in the neighbourhood

What if God moved in next door?

I've lived in the same house for many years, and had a variety of neighbours. When we moved in, an older couple lived in the attached unit to our townhouse, and I smiled and chatted with them until I learned he was a pedophile known by police. I clutched my two young daughters to me and breathed a sigh of relief when they moved.

Next, two young policemen moved in (the irony of that was not lost on me!) and then my friend, Joan. The family living there now consist on Dad and Mom, two kids and grandma, and English isn't their first language. We share a love of gardening, and cross language and cultural barriers over petunias and begonias each year. "Where did you buy that topsoil? I like what you did with the annuals." It's pleasant. It's what neighbours do.

But what if God moved in next door?

Do you know He wants to?

Lev. 26:11,12 says, "I'll set up my residence in your neighbourhood; I won't avoid or shun you; I'll stroll through your streets. I'll be Your God; You'll be my people."

God wants to be so close to me, it's like he's strolling through the neighbourhood. Sitting on a swing in the park
Walking the bike paths. Admiring the flowers.

So often, I try to leave Him at church, or sitting on the coffee table with my Bible. He's not that kind of a God. He is with me, as i walk the streets of my neighbourhood. As I do life. He is involved and personal. "I am Your God." That's personal--right where I live. He's involved in all the imperfections of my life--the brown grass, the broken fence, the dog droppings that no one picked up. He's a part of it all, because He's is my neighbour.

So today, I will walk through my neighbourhood, and thank Him for the small miracle (which isn't so small) of the God who is there, right where I live.

What evidence do you see of the miracle of God's presence in your neighbourhood--your daily life?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The small miracle of the tough stuff

Sometimes, I have these conversations with God...
"Lord, this thing I'm going through--it hurts. You know that, right? You can see that I'm hurting? You said that You love me, and I believe that, so, Lord, could you...ah...MAKE THE PAIN STOP!  please...

God doesn't mind honest prayers, even when they border on (as mine sometimes do) accusation. He knows I'm wondering how a loving Father could allow this. How could He let His child hurt like this? I would never...

And then I remember my kids.There were times, as a parent, when I had to inflict pain. Times I had to watch them deal with pain they caused, and times I supported them through painful situations where they were innocent victims. Each scenario ripped my heart out with love for them.

When my eldest daughter was five, she contracted epiglottis. Her epiglottis swelled and threatened to cut off her breathing, necessitating emergency surgery to put a tube down her throat. While in ICU, the tube would become clogged with mucus, and they had to slide a smaller tube down it to clear it. Frightened and in pain, she would flail and scream, but no sound came forth, because it bypassed her voice box. Watching her was excruciating.

When my middle daughter was in grade five, she was the victim of bullies. Not the knock-you-down-and-hurt-you kind, but the nasty, catty girl kind. I did what I could (talked with her and worked with the teacher) but I didn't do what I wanted to, which was take the girls behind the school and slap them--hard. I had to watch her pain.

When my son was small, he touched the heater he'd been told many times never to go near. The resulting burns necessitated a trip to the Emergency department and a long, tormenting night. He kept waking, crying out in pain, and I was desperate to make the pain stop for him. But I couldn't.

It's agonising, but sometimes necessary, to watch your children in pain. They don't always understand why you don't intervene. Or that you are intervening. All they know is the pain, the intolerable pain that won't stop.

Today, Lord, I thank you for the miracle of the tough stuff. I don't like it--it hurts. But I'm thankful that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me, and Who is with me, holding me, as I go through it.

"If your heart is broken, you'll find God is right there; if you're kicked in the gut, He'll help you catch your breath."

The miracle of the tough stuff. And a God who is there.

Has there been a time when, years later, you understood how God had been with you through the tough stuff?

Monday, 6 February 2012

The small miracle of the sunrise

It was the weekend that wasn't.

I worked Saturday. Sunday morning, I set the alarm for 6:00, and after starting the crock pot and yeast rolls, buckled down to work on a writing assignment that was due. I finished just in time to get ready for church. Next, whirlwind of preparations and my family arrived. A lovely dinner, good-byes and the weekend was over.

Monday morning. Ugh. I awoke with a start, and realized that the alarm I had set for 6:00 on Sunday hadn't been changed back to my normal weekday 5:00. It was barely morning, and I was already running late.

A mad scramble, and I was heading to the train station. I was a few minutes late, but within reasonable proximity of "on time." I was going to make it. With focus borne of purpose, I remember nothing about the drive. I was on a mission to get there on time.

I jumped from the car and grabbed my bags. And...grabbed...where was my purse? Twice I checked, but alas, I had left it sitting on the deacon's bench at home. As it contained my ticket to ride, as well as the rest of my life, there was nothing left to do but drive home, get it, and drive back. Oh yes, and miss my train.

As I stood at the station waiting for the next train, I was mildly irritated. The rhythm of my day had been thrown. Then I looked up.

At the horizon, the most magnificent sunrise was creeping forth. Pinks and oranges greeted the day, the light growing and stretching with each passing minute. God tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I had this gift for you, which you almost missed."

"I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
      your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their setting.
       Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
        Why take a second look our way?"
Psalm 8:3,4 (Message)

God's sunrise- a huge miracle. My small miracle- I looked up.

Has God ever interrupted your day with a small miracle?