A dear friend gave me an idea for an article for the blog. I have been doing some research and trying to put the thoughts in order. It will be a discussion of privilege, blessings and guilt. It just wasn’t coming together for some reason (don’t worry it will be my next article, it started to come together as soon as I was led to write this one.)
As usual, I was out walking the dogs this morning. I’m talking to the Lord about the lack of inspiration I feel about writing the article, even though I’m convinced it’s a great topic (you’re going to love it, take my word for it). As I’m walking along I see on the sidewalk two little herb plants that someone has just thrown away. There they were looking sad and forlorn. Suddenly, I bent down to pick them up and said to myself, I have the perfect little pot to plant these in. Then I burst out laughing because it dawned on me that God has just given me the gift of thyme, (time) to relax about writing the other article. He wanted me to take time to talk about time.
This is an easy subject to talk about during this pandemic as so many of us have too much time on our hands. It’s not that I don’t want to be busy and productive, I do. But I’m not burning with fire to do something specific (except write this blog). The problem is that everybody is writing about time right now. Everyone has ideas (including me) for ways to help out in the community. We talked about some of those in an earlier blog. I don’t want to repeat those same thoughts.
You know the verse in Romans 8:28 (NIV) that says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”? Well I think that verse is the clue to this whole topic. Instead of wondering how we can be productive, we need to look at this time as a gift from God. He has given us the gift of time so that we can reflect on our own lives and how we are interfacing with Him. Are you spending this precious time with our Lord in prayer? Are you taking advantage of this time to delve into the Word, or into a Bible study you’ve been putting off? Are you using this precious gift of time to grow closer to God?
I know I wasn’t, at least not as much as I think I should have been. I was focused on doing the outward things. I did a massive photo album for my daughter going from great great grandparents to present day and I wrote a family history to go along with it. I made some face masks, I made some scrub caps and I bought lots of material to make lots more. I was focused on writing my blog, and the more I focused the less I was able to write. I have a sweet friend who often says she hopes that God will be actively using her up to her last breath. It’s not that I don’t agree with the sentiment, its just that at my last breath, I hope the Lord and I are having a conversation and I’m not so busy do good works that I miss the beauty of my transition to eternal life.
It is wonderful to lead Bible studies and write books and blogs and poetry and be in the thick of all the church projects. I’m not suggesting that we should not be doing these things. I’m suggesting that we spend more time in talking to Jesus . The tagline for this blog is “Pray without ceasing.” We should be in continual conversation with God. After all, His greatest desire was that he should create humans so he could be in relationship with us. Relationships don’t just happen. They take a lot of work– on both sides. I do spend time early in the morning reading the Word, and following several devotions on-line. (I highly recommend Jim Denison’s Daily Article.) However, I’m afraid that sometimes, I come to God with the best of intentions, start my day with him and then leave him behind me after our morning time. I “move on” to my daily activities, and the last week or so those daily activities devolved into very little of anything. I think some of the pressure of quarantine is starting to get to me. I’m feeling very much at loose ends these days.
That’s why when I saw the two little thyme plants laying on the sidewalk just waiting for me, I laughed out loud. I love how God uses the most amazing things to get our attention and to convey an idea to us. I find inspiration more often than not, in the beauty of his creation. Watching squirrels playing, listening to birds singing, dogs barking, and cats meowing always puts a smile on my face. If you haven’t noticed the magnolias are blooming. They are such a magnificent example of the beauty of God’s creation.
So I realize that as in many things in my life God has hidden a gift inside less than perfect circumstances. In this pandemic, he has given me the gift of thyme (time). So I brought the little plants home to have a constant reminder of God’s gift. I have potted them together, because even plants are stronger together than alone. Just as we are stronger together with God than we will ever be if we are alone. “Praise the Lord, oh my soul! With all that is within me, praise his holy name.” Psalm 103:1-2 (NET)