“Ahhhh!” Tearing plastic wrap off to place over a plate of food takes a knack! Have you ever wrestled with it, only to end up with a wadded mess or pulling out half the roll in attempts to get off a small piece?! After carefully pulling the mess apart or taking the whole roll out of the box and rolling some of it back up, the job is finally done.
I am reminded of a young child fearfully clinging to a parent when faced with a new situation or new people. It may take time to calm those fears as hands pat, kisses convey love, or words explain. That clinging speaks of a trust and a need which is basic for us all.
The psalmist spoke of clinging to God. “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” Like the child clinging to that source of security, when we hold determinedly to our source of help and strength we are comforted.
Likewise, when I climbed the ladder to the roof of our house to clean out the gutters (Yes, I did that!) …I clung to the ladder and to the snow guards, secure as the work was done.
We have that same security in God as we cling to Him and to His words. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, said to “cling to what is good.” Sometimes things may seem to be a wadded-up mess, but when we stick with God, He helps us work through our difficulties. Our lives reflect His presence… Because He is our help, we can sing, confident that His hand holds us up.
Rejoice and be glad
Hearts full, sing praise
Assured and comforted
Good tidings, Emmanuel
From “My Words to Live By” c-a allen
Flash! … Boom! Crash! Crackle! As lightning flashed and thunder rolled late one night, I leapt from my bed and ran to the doorway of my upstairs bedroom. As a young girl many years ago, I still clearly remember how afraid I was. I called for my father, my voice almost drowned out by the storm, and he came up to assure me that all would be well. His comforting presence stayed with me until the worst of the storm had passed.
Jesus’ disciples were afraid during a storm too. As they were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a sudden storm came up and the boat was in danger of sinking. Jesus had fallen asleep, but his disciples awakened him; he got up and rebuked the wind and waters and calmed the storm. *
There are times in life when I am afraid. I’m afraid for my family and others when they face health challenges or accidents. I’m afraid of dangerous weather and travel conditions. I’m afraid because of uncertain times, strained relationships, or changes in life situations. Sometimes I’m afraid to try new things or to step out in a new or different direction.
When Jesus’ disciples were afraid and amazed after Jesus calmed the storm, Jesus spoke of their faith and when my father came to me during the thunder storm, his presence calmed me. I had faith that my daddy would take care of me, that I would be safe. When we feel alone, overwhelmed, and afraid we can remember the words Jesus spoke to his disciples in his final days with them. He encouraged them to have faith and said that he would be sending the Holy Spirit to be with them forever: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. **
God surrounds us with His presence, the storms pass, and the winds calm… Peace to still our fears.
*Luke 8:23-25, **John 14:27
I love the scents and colors of herbs. In recent years, I have begun learning a bit about how to grow and gather a few of them and about some of their uses. I enjoy my little spots in the flower garden and pots on my sun porch and I help with some at my in-law’s home. “It’s a happy,” as my daughter would say as a child to describe something she liked. Not all my growing attempts are successful, but repeat attempts are sometimes more fruitful after I learn more about them. Some creature (perhaps a rabbit?) thoroughly enjoyed my in-law’s basil this year, which had to be replanted two times! Then too, I find that some plants are just not suited for the areas available, so other plants are found that will flourish there. Herbs, used from ancient times to improve health, to treat illness and injury and to cook with, have much to offer. Like insects, we are drawn to them because they can provide comfort, healing, and enjoyment of growing things.
As I was considering this, I thought of how God wants us to draw near to Him. He loves for us to come to Him and to thank Him when we are enjoying the scents and colors of life. When we draw close to Him we are recognizing who He is. God can show us where we will flourish when we are receptive to His offered gifts and guidance. He is the source of comfort and healing. Have you ever been to the point where you just didn’t know what to say or do, or even if you wanted to try?! While all our “growing” attempts are not successful, God helps us to thrive. I am so thankful for those around me, people who reach out or give a hug or word to help through difficult times and to join in times of celebration. Sometimes we need to be “replanted” and sometimes we need to be faithful and to learn so that we can thrive where we are. I’m so thankful that He is with me, especially on my “I’m just done” days! Draw near. Like insects drawn to herbs, we are drawn to the One who provides, who is the source of life.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works. Psalm 73:28
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you… James 4:6a
Apples! I love apples! …I remember the taste of crunchy, sweet apples fresh off the tree in the backyard of our small-town home when I was growing up. The smell of apples cooking as Mom busied herself about the kitchen making apple butter and jelly, pies, and applesauce still lingers in my mind! Those wonderful summer days of gathering apples, listening to the neighbor’s honeybees about their work, and resting in the cool shade of their boughs are forever etched in my memory. I can still hear the sounds of laughter as my three brothers and I played, worked, and ate our fill of those apples!
Have you ever wondered where the phrase “the apple of my eye” came from? The writer of Deuteronomy says that God found his people in a desert land, “a barren and howling waste,” but cared for them and guarded them “as the apple of his eye.” The psalmist prayed to God, “Keep me as the apple of your eye”! This phrase is literally translated “the little man of the eye.” …If you look closely into the eyes of someone, you can see your own image reflected in that round central circle of their pupil. Think about it. Our very image is reflected in the eye of God! How awesome is that?!
God watches over us. Cherishes us. He keeps our very image before Him! Like those childhood memories, He brings comfort and joy to His children.