Last week I was blessed by an invitation out. Out of the bedroom, out of the house, into a restaurant with friends. I've been so grateful the Lord provided energy for it! I'm paying for it now but wouldn't trade a moment of the time with friends.
It was a balmy 77 degrees when we left the house - equivalent to about 65 degrees with humidity. Very comfortable, the air fresh and crisp with just a slight breeze - not our usual hot winds from hades! Jupiter shone down in all it's magnificent glory against the dark blue velvet sky. The man made constellations of planes lined up for the airport also shone down, bright landing lights in a straight procession from whereabouts unknown, sliding down the sky.
On nights like that I always think of how God loves beauty. I'm so grateful He put a capacity to enjoy it in our hearts. The desert can be harsh and very demanding, but in Springtime it is lovely - the hills take on the slight green blush of new growth, the trees begin to flower, bushes branch out, and my roses bloom. (They quit when the temps get above 90) so I enjoy the exuberance of Spring! How God loves us!
Our friends have a gelding named Blackjack - all black, of course, with a lovely white star on his forehead. They had bought him for hardly anything because he was paralyzed by fear. My friend had worked and worked with him to get him used to stuff - like a rope lying on the ground, water puddles, small everyday things - and had helped him enormously. When they found a place that used the horse whisperer techniques they shipped him out. They went to visit him and found him chest deep in a pond, with a small filly as a friend, afraid of nothing and happy as a horse could be. I could only think how wonderful God is to allow a person to discover a way to reach animals like that.
There are areas a little way from here where you can still see wild horses racing across the mesa. The BLM (bureau of land management) thins them a little more each year, selling them off to buyers for small amounts of money,( among whom are folks who kill them for dog food ) It's very controversial here - the pressure is mainly from the cattle owners who also graze their herds on the mesa. They want the horses out so they have more grazing land. The BLM claims not enough people buy them and it's too expensive to feed and care for them in the pens. The heart breaks for these critters who have run with the wind since birth and now face a terrifying gather and confinement in pens. One of the local prisons has lent non-violent offenders to the BLM to gentle and train the horses, usually it takes a year or more to get a horse that is gentle and lead broken. It teaches the men patience and how rewarding it is to work with their hands and hearts. The horses are never returned as unworkable as some of the unbroken ones are, and garners a few more dollars for the govt.
Why am I telling you all this? I've been thinking about how the Israelites are not the only ones who are stiff necked. We are all stiff-necked before He gentles us and gets us lead broken. His patience is amazing - His approach so gentle. He is compassionate and slow to anger, abundant with mercy - and how grateful I am for that mercy! Like a horse afraid of a piece of rope on the ground, we are afraid of what He will ask of us, afraid of what He will have us do. How interesting that the evil one will fill us with fear so often when we face something difficult - instead of trusting our Master to lead us through whatever faces us. It keeps us from resting in Him and seeing His hand right in front of our faces, ready for us to grab and hang onto.
I've been reading in Isaiah lately - how different the earth will be when its rightful Ruler is once again in command, and the earth is renewed -Isaiah 55 :12 says,"You shall go out with joy and be lead forth with peace, and the mountains and the hills will break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the fields will clap their hands." For a kid raised on Walt Disney it's not hard to imagine that scene! LOL! But it is one more example of the wonder and joy that lie in our future with Him. We have no idea what He has planned - and I don't think singing mountains or clapping trees are beyond his ability to create. Did you know that if you speed up a recording of a humpback singing, it sounds just like a bird chirping? - and both sounds were created for our enjoyment. When you see a robin in Springtime, he's just gotta sing - he can't do anything else. The joy of life can't be held in and expresses itself in song. Young colts and calves have to run and buck and jump - they're so full of the joy of being that your heart leaps with them.
Just so are we who know the Joy of Life in Jesus - there are times when the heart is so full of joy that there is nothing else to do but worship. And sometimes the heart is so full of sorrow that there is nothing else one can do but worship. He is a God whose everlasting arms are always underneath us. He never pulls away because we have fallen - for the zillionth time - He picks us up, washes us off, and sets us back on the narrow road.
This year a total eclipse of the sun, complete with corona, will occur May 20th - and will be visible in all its glory here. The only other eclipse I have seen was only partial, but I remember how the temperature decreased by 20 degrees - and that was in San Diego! I wonder what will happen in the desert heat? I'm so looking fwd to that - we may go over by the Grand Canyon to view it - or the valley of fire here. But it will be an exciting event.
It never ceases to fill me with wonder to look at the desert sky and know that He knows each star by name. He knows each of us by name, too and has placed us just so, exactly where He wants us, including the state of our health. I keep thinking of the time people were looking at the healed blind man and saying, which one sinned, the blind man or the parents (they believed that illness was a sign of God's ill favor) that this illness fell upon him.. Jesus's next words are lovely to me ; He said neither , that this illness was to show the glory of God.
Those words electrify my heart - to think that it is possible that God favored me with this illness as a means to glorify Him in ways no other thing can. What an awesome responsibility! (of course, people may also say it's possible this illness is because of my sins, which are many, but since Jesus paid the penalty for any and all of the sins I would someday commit on the cross before my DNA ever existed, there would be no reason to punish for sins already forgiven.)
And that alone, to me , is a cause for worship. Forgiven sins and a chance to glorify God in ways the AB have no means to comprehend. But what if I'm confined to a single room? I never have chances to tell people what He does for me, ways to make use of this chance.
In answer to that I say, the One Who placed you where you are, in the exact circumstances He has put you in, is glorified every time we raise our eyes and give thanks when some new hard aspect of our CI becomes known and must be dealt with. It is in the gentleness of spirit we can cultivate by appreciating our caregivers and expressing our thanks. It is in not complaining (the English word for murmuring), and being gracious through the pain, and not excusing ourselves from snapping at others because it is a bad day.
I am not saying I am a paragon of virtue here. Every CI knows that bad days seem to come straight from the pit. They are unsettling and energy consuming and it's hard not to groan when you try to move or watch the last tiny drop of your energy and self-control circling the drain (don't you just hate that?) I am not always walking in the Spirit on those days, and my spirit aches at yet another example of my lack of perfection as His child.
But He has taught me that that sin is paid for, and He sees how yet another blatant failure at the narrow way makes me feel; but what He asks of me at such a time is this: get up, dust yourself off, and start again - forgetting the things that are behind and pressing forward instead.
The evil one, of course, wants us to continue looking behind, and, I am convinced, keeps a detailed list of our failures for just that purpose. Things you haven't thought of in years come bustling to the front dressed in red, waving their arms. Every embarrassing one, every cruel thing you've ever said, anything to make us feel unworthy, And he hits it on the head because, of course, we are unworthy. What he doesn't want us to think of is that God doesn't even see our unworthiness - He sees His Son, spotless and pure, He sees His child, stuck in the mud, just waiting for us to reach up and take His offer of help. He's already separated our sin from us as far as the East is from the West,
And so He waits. Waits for us to get up, dust ourselves off, and trust Him to lead us on the path that draws us to Him.
What an Awesome God we serve!