I really appreciate the times that God disrupts my life with something simple.
I’m not sure why, but I always expect it to be something big or new or complex or astounding. Because...you know...he’s God. But often, He’s instead thrown me off balance with the most elementary of concepts; something so old and familiar that I’ve lost track of it somewhere in the disheveled toy room that often feels like my spiritual life.
I’m sure many of you, like many of my friends, have little kids at home and that those kids all have a roughly equal propensity for hoarding playthings. The shiny new toys seem to take pride-of-place in the center of the floor, and the older toys are unceremoniously piled up in corners or bins or whatever mom or dad used in the hopes of bringing order to the chaos. And yet every so often, an old toy resurfaces, the memories are rekindled, and for a while, the old toy brings even more joy than any new toy ever could.
I’m realizing that over the last few years, my spiritual life has come to resemble that playroom...especially one funded by some incredibly over-generous grandparents. I have benefitted from some remarkable teachers, authors, and mentors over the last half dozen years or so, and the gifts of knowledge and experience and understanding that they have blessed me with are truly too numerous to count. And it’s been magical...like a whole month of Christmas mornings.
And...I’ve already started to lose track of some of those gifts because I’ve been so busy playing with whatever is newest. Which is a great problem to have when compared with the times that it feels like I’m stuck, or that nothing is happening. It’s funny how both abundance and lack can present challenges.
So a couple weeks ago, I was enjoying a quiet moment on a Sunday morning. It was one of those times where God just felt really close...like that feeling of sinking down into a big, old, overstuffed armchair. Surrounded. Cocooned. And since God felt so close, I thought I’d ask Him what, out of the all of things going on in my life, I should focus on in that moment.
Hello, old friend, indeed! From the bottom of the pile in my spiritual toy room comes one of the most basic and central concepts in a life of faith.
Now under normal circumstances, I’d hop-to with a litany of things I’m grateful for, both large and small. But since I was still in that comfy place, I wanted to better understand what He meant. And here’s what it felt like He brought to mind.
“Rejoice in My goodness because it will give you hope.
Be thankful for all that I have done because it will give you hope for all that is still to come.
When you give thanks, your mind and heart shift to a posture of being and receiving rather than doing or striving. That’s where I want your heart today.
All other things will come from...and through...that posture.”
If you caught the blog post from back in July, you’ll know that it’s been an 8-year battle for hope as Brooke and I have waited to have children of our own.
Hope has been in short supply lately. And it’s been desperately needed.
And I’ve been largely avoiding it.
Honestly, I haven’t wanted to hope lately because it hurt too much. Like trying to muscle through another lap when the legs are aching, or another push up when both gravity and your arms feel like immovable objects. It’s just easier to give up sometimes than to push through the pain. Especially if you can’t even see the finish line.
And yet here in this moment where I feel safe and God feels close, He goes straight for my heart in the kindest possible way.
“Be thankful. It’ll bring you hope.”
And so as I sat there, I began to remember all of the times, both large and seemingly-small, that God definitely showed up in my life. All the times that He came through. All the times He did more than I could have asked for or expected.
And you know what came right on the heels of that thankfulness?
An undeniable feeling that everything was going to be okay. That I was going to be okay. That we were going to be okay.
So happy early Thanksgiving to everyone in the Strong Towers community. Over these next couple weeks, I’m trying to keep my focus right here.
Thankfulness. And hope.
I’m thankful for all of you that are on this journey with us. And I’m hopeful that we will see still greater goodness than this when all is said and done.