Yesterday, I tackled the job of raking the front yard. We have a beautiful popcorn tree that just a few weeks ago was full of the most beautiful colored leaves. Now they all lay at my feet and covered every square inch of my yard. I knew the weather was going to turn and if I was going to get this done, now was the time. So I raked, and raked, and raked. To make matters more interesting, the wind kept blowing and scattering my leaves. I offered up a prayer - okay, it was more of a complaint..."Come on, God! Give me a break!" For a moment, the wind turned and blew with me instead of against me; I smiled only to then immediately experience the wind shift again. It was then that one of those random thoughts hit.
From here on, this blog may seem redundant, stating the obvious for the oblivious. Yet, it is something I must remind myself of daily. Can I thank God in ALL things, not just those I see as a blessing?
As I raked and the wind turned against me again, I realized that the same wind that blew my work away was bringing a cool refreshing to my sweaty brow. It caused leaves to dance in merriment up to the unbelieveably blue sky. I could get angry and "shake my fist" at the wind, or I could take a step back and see things in a different way. Instead of working against the wind, I needed to shift my position and work with that wind....see the gift that it brought in the midst of difficulties.
Now, I know wayward leaves pale in comparison to some things people are facing today, but perhaps in them there is something we can learn. Do I fuss and fume when things don't go "my way"? Do I stare in disbelief when life hands me pain? Do I forget to look up and see if perhaps that which is causing me frustration is at the same time blowing in something else I need? Am I willing to be thankful in ALL things?
That same popcorn tree had given us shade all summer long when we needed it. It had painted a beautiful picture to welcome me home during the first few days of fall. It will serve as the backdrop for our nativity this Christmas. I thanked God for its shade and colors, could I thank God for its barrenness as well? Would I lift my eyes from the mess at my feet to see the hope? There truly is hope. Even in that emptiness, there lies the hope of a new season.
I don't know what wind has blown into your life lately...job loss, loss of loved one, loss of a hoped for future. It sounds trite, but I understand. More importantly, God understands. That wind that is "messing with" your plans may also be bringing blessings and hope you have not seen. Though it seems that all is crashing around you....look up. Your strength and hope are there. You can not see them, just like you can't see the wind. But just like the wind, you can feel it and know He is there.
This Thanksgiving, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of cooking, cleaning, and holiday activities, may you feel the cool wind of His presence and know that He is there. That is something we can truly be thankful for.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (MSG)
16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
*Re-post from 2008
*Re-post from 2008