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Monday, February 19, 2007
Symbols of Hope
“And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying…I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9:8,13

I am not one to over spiritualize every natural occurrence in life. I think there is a danger in always looking for a “sign” from God. On the other hand, God does speak to us through the natural phenomena of His creation. After the huge flood that decimated the earth, God placed a rainbow in the sky as a symbol of hope for the future. Even today, thousands of years later, our hearts are lifted in hope at the sight of a rainbow spanning the skies.

A couple of days ago, God gave me a “symbol of hope” in the form of a pineapple plant growing in my patio garden. That pineapple plant has been the object of many conversations, jokes, and illustrations since the day 6 years ago when Malcom lobbed off the top of a pineapple and stuck it in some potted dirt. We read somewhere that it takes about 3 years for a pineapple plant to mature and produce fruit. So day after day, year after year we faithfully tended that plant. In the third year, no fruit, just beautiful leaves. In the fourth year, still no fruit. By now this plant has become the perfect example of how “not” to live the Christian life. God wants us to bear fruit! It was beautiful, but useless.

After Malcom went home to be with the Lord last year and I returned to Taiwan, I seriously contemplated throwing away that plant who had now survived 5 years without producing fruit. It seemed to mock me saying “I’m still here but I’m no use!” Actually, it was the logistics of how to easily dispose of such a huge plant that caused me to procrastinate and allow it to continue growing on my balcony patio.

Ah, but now, that plant has become a symbol of hope to me! On Chinese New Year’s Eve, as I was watering the foliage I detected something a bit different with that plant. Could it be true? Yes! Something besides leaves is beginning to emerge from its center! Six years after it was planted, God says “It’s time!” and there is a bloom.

My pineapple plant is just doing what it is supposed to do and it brings me pleasure. I see hope for the future. I’m glad I didn’t give up and toss it out last fall. It’s a good lesson that can be applied to many areas of my life and ministry. How many other “pineapple plants” are there that just need tending and time for God to work?!

posted at 8:49 PM  

Sunday, February 11, 2007
Something to Consider
“Say not thou, ‘What is the cause that former days were better than these?’ for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this.” Ecclesiastes 7:10

I have often described life since becoming a widow as “being in limbo.” Where once there was a common goal and plan for the future, now there is uncertainty. Where once all my decisions were weighed equally with my husband’s desires, now I’m left to figure out the best course of action on my own. It’s quite an adjustment. In weak moments I say to the Lord, “What were you thinking? I want my life back! I liked it better before all this happened!” Obviously, I’m not the only one who has longingly looked at former days and wished to be whisked back to that safe, comfortable time when life seemed better. Through the pen of wise Solomon, I hear the Lord say, “It’s not really smart for you to ask about such things!” Reading further, instead He gives me something to consider:

“Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked. In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other to the end that man should find nothing after him.” (Eccl. 7:13-14)

As I consider these things, I recognize the truth that when God does something, it will not be undone without his express permission. Why? Because He has a profound purpose to all He does. It is not random hit and miss as if I can “catch the blessings” sometimes and “oops! I got hit by that trial” other times. I must consider that He has made one as well as the other. As I totally depend upon His wisdom and trust in His goodness, it is possible then to stop dwelling on what was and what could have been. It is the path to moving forward.

posted at 4:18 PM  

Thursday, February 01, 2007
Treasures of the Snow
“Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow, or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail?” Job 38:22
“For He saith to the snow, be thou on the earth…” Job 37:6

It’s a winter wonderland outside and my thoughts turn once again in wonder and awe of God the Creator. From the safety of my warm house, I love to watch the gently falling snow as it silently settles a thick blanket of white over every thing. It seems to fall from an endless storehouse. What an amazing way to water the earth in winter time! Beauty blended with practicality from an omnipotent, all-surrounding God. Like Job, I do not fully understand it. I have not entered into the “treasures of the snow.” Even those who have made it their goal to understand the mysteries of the elements cannot control or avoid what God causes to be governed by exact and unchangeable laws of nature. Just as God spoke the world into existence, His voice commands the snow to be on the earth. I marvel at the beauty of the snow, but more than that, I worship the amazing Almighty Creator God. I lift my heart in praise because the same sovereign Lord is in control of all that concerns me.

posted at 12:34 AM