And the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands

 

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So it is when I declare something.
My word will go out and not return to Me empty,
But it will do what I wanted;
it will accomplish what I determined.
 
For you will go out in joy, be led home in peace.
And as you go the land itself will break out in cheers;
The mountains and the hills will erupt in song,
and the trees of the field will clap their hands.

(Isaiah 55:11,12 The Voice)

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Forest Path

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“When I trust deeply that today God is truly with me and holds me safe in a divine embrace, guiding every one of my steps I can let go of my anxious need to know how tomorrow will look, or what will happen next month or next year. I can be fully where I am and pay attention to the many signs of God’s love within me and around me.”

~Henri Nouwen

 

Great and Mighty Things

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I waited for the perfect day to follow a trail down to one of my favourite places. That day came this week. I love this spot by the Kootenay River on a cool still autumn morning. I didn’t want to leave.

It doesn’t always look like this. Some days low grey clouds hide the mountains and barren trees bend in cold wind. Some days deep snow can block the roads or combined heavy rain and churning dirty meltwater can flood the river valley. On those days we enjoy the warmth of a fireplace and the benefits of clean hot water in the bathtub and computer networks that allow us to get our work done.

Sometimes leaving the comfort of home feels scary, especially in the autumn when bears are desperate to put on weight before hibernation. We don’t see them every day, but simply knowing that they are out there is often enough to keep people at home.

Leaving the confines of the familiar requires courage.

I’m doing something I haven’t done before. I am aware circumstances can change suddenly and that there are territorial threats out there. What if I make a mistake? What if I’m wrong? What if I wander into something I can’t handle? Maybe I should just go back to doing what I have always done in the confines of structures that tell me what to think and how to feel. Maybe I should be content with listening to experts tell me who God is to them and what they require of me to fit in.

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But what if I miss seeing his majesty for myself? What if playing it safe means missing moments like this moment down by the river? What if staying behind locked steel doors means I miss the spiritual equivalent of this view, this peace, this sense of his presence?

Faith, like a seed, ventures to grow. And today conditions are perfect.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

(Jeremiah 33:3)

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Imperfect

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Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.

~ Francis de Sales

It’s frustrating the way imperfections, like bugs on flowers, don’t show up until I blow up a photo on the big screen.

It’s frustrating when I don’t see imperfections in my own life until circumstances blow them up and project them on a screen where I can’t miss them.

Seeing our own flaws can suck the courage right out of us, but God in his kindness points out problems that could mess things up later. His grace is the empowerment to change. When he points out a fly on the flower in the way we relate to others, it’s not to convince us to hide in shame. It’s to infuse us with the courage to make changes that will improve our ability to love as he loves.

It’s his patient kindness that leads to repentance. He has invested everything in seeing us become who he knows we really are. Have patience. He knows what he’s doing.