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Over the years I have been challenged by semantics. Sometimes I might say phrases or clichés that are in direct contradiction to my worldview or biblical truth. I don’t want to do that.
For instance, I might pray and ask God for protection. Then I stop myself and think about verses like Romans 8:28 that promise God is working out all circumstances for good for those of us who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Or like the scads of verses in which God promises to never leave or forsake us.
Perhaps my prayer ought to be, “Lord, as I am trusting my life to you, let me never take for granted Your protection and Your provision and Your will that is unfolding in my life. Tonight I am trusting You to continue to take care of us like You have been faithful to do all of our lives.”
God’s grace is another example. God’s grace is generously and abundantly poured out upon my family each day, and He promises that it is sufficient for me. I realize that I need to have eyes to see that grace and to look for it. No matter what I face, no matter the circumstance, the Lord’s grace is promised to us, His children.
However, just understanding disciplines in our Christian life is only half the task; practicing them is what turns them into a natural reaction to our circumstances. I learned this again this week.
We arrived in Asia Pacific, exhausted by the 30+ hours of travel. Each of those flights took us miles and miles away from the United States. How strange to be flying farther and farther away from our sweet, first-born son (whom we left at college). The first morning we woke in Asia Pacific, Mike and I had morning coffee on the steamy back porch, looking out at all the palm and frangipani trees. He began telling me all about this terrifying book he read on our flight across the Pacific. It is entitled, Man-Eaters of Kumaon. The author, Jim Corbett, a hunter, was an amazing naturalist who depended on the calls of monkeys and birds to guide him in the ways of the jungle. Now to us city folk this is intriguing, right? We don’t know a thing about nature unless we read other’s observations or watch nature documentaries. But living in the jungle, we found that most of our tribal friends are so in tune with their surroundings because they see it, they watch it, they pay attention. Our boys grew up this way as well.
Then Mike changed the subject and observed all the smells and sounds and familiar sights Asia Pacific holds for us. The air is so thick with humidity, and the clean, tropical smells surround us. We were so excited about papayas and rambutan that were surely going to greet us at breakfast in a few hours. Sipping on his coffee, Mike looked so content, so happy to be “home.” I, on the other hand, was struggling not to get teary. I thought, “It would be perfect, but can I really enjoy it without Morgan?”
(Note: You must follow closely with me on this one. My mind is sometimes like a Family Circus comic strip—it is hard to know why it takes certain paths. And jet lag leaves you sleep deprived.)
Then we heard this beautiful dove calling out to another dove. The dove was perched on the tree right in front of us. She kept calling and then turned around and looked right at us, continuing to sing. Next thing we knew she flew down and walked just inches from our patio, not scared at all. They are all spoiled rotten by all the crumbs that no doubt are left by all the tourists. I got a good look at her pink feet and her beautiful God-decorated neck. Then all my thoughts collided: me missing Morgan, the tiger hunter always aware of his surroundings, and me not being in tune with God’s grace today.
Just as Christ reminded His disciples in Luke 12:6–7 that even sparrows are not forgotten by the Father, God used the little dove to remind me of His grace, His control, His protection, His sovereignty, and His love. Those things are always present; I never have to question it, but I do have to see it! He is faithful to know my hard times; He sees every tear and never ever stops caring for my Wild family, even though we aren’t under the same roof or in the same hemisphere!
It is up to me to take the truth of God’s Word and apply it to situations so that one day, when I am all grown up (mature in faith), that response will be second nature to me. Just learning it isn’t good enough; even being convinced that it is true isn’t good enough. I want to use it, own it, and make it mine.
May God’s grace be evident to you today!
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