Saturday was grass-cutting day. This is a chore I dread because I lack the strength to start the lawnmower. Since some tasks are easier for men, and starting a lawnmower is one of them, sometimes I do succeed in getting it started, but not this day. Have you heard that women can do almost anything a man can? Well, that sounds good, but from my experience, it isn’t always so. God created us differently. I’ve come to realize this more and more since I lost my husband.
Before I had time to complain to God about my predicament, I saw my neighbor in his yard. I quickly went over to ask him to start the lawnmower. My neighbor, Mike, stopped what he was doing, and came right over to help.
The youngest of his children, three-year-old Ross, was standing with him. I watched the little boy follow right behind him, almost matching him step-by-step. This time the lawnmower wouldn’t start, even for him. Mike immediately went to get his tools to fix the problem. As he started to his garage, so did his little boy. He returned with a few tools in hand, and walking with him, holding some of his play tools, was Ross. Mike stooped down and began looking at the lawnmower, unscrewing nuts and bolts, with Ross stooping right beside him, imitating everything he did. It was a picture I will carry with me for a long time, father and son sharing such a special bond.
In a few moments, the oldest son joined the pair fixing the lawnmower. Christopher looked at me, and with great confidence in his Dad’s abilities said, “if it can be fixed, my Dad can do it.” I was now observing the father’s bond with the eldest, as well as the youngest child.
God showed me a few nuggets of truth, right there in my own front yard.
1. I need to be childlike, just as those two boys were with their father.
“I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3 NLT).
2. I am to imitate my heavenly Father, just as the youngest one did his earthly dad. I need to be close to Him, watching and learning.
3. Like the oldest son, I need to have confidence in my Heavenly Father. I know my God can fix anything! This son’s confidence in his dad was based on knowing him and seeing him fix things before. He had been where the youngest was now sitting. There was no doubt in his mind, he was confident that his dad could fix my lawnmower.
Do I have that same confidence in God? Do I know my heavenly Father as those two boys know their earthly dad?
“Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him! He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring” (Hosea 6:3 NLT).
It won’t happen unless I do as they did — spend time with my Dad and watch what He is doing, listen to what He is saying, and then do as He does.
“… the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” (John 5:19 NLT).
My prayer is that I can learn to do as the two neighbor boys did with their earthly father. I want to be a “mirror image” of the Father and His Son.
Also, let’s remember to have confidence in God for our needs. We have seen Him fix things before and we know He can do it again! He has even fixed us in that He saved us so we can live with Him for all eternity. We have great reason to be confident!
Shattered Beyond Repair
JUNE 10, 2021
Are there any broken places in your heart and life right now?
I know how hard that can be.
And there’s this wonderful Christian story I could tell you. It’s the one about how we can pick up the broken pieces, glue them back together and then let God’s light shine through our cracks. That’s a beautiful story.
But what about those times when things aren’t just broken … but shattered beyond repair? Shattered to the point of dust. At least when things are broken, there’s some hope you can glue the pieces back together.
What if there aren’t even pieces to pick up in front of you?
You can’t glue dust.
It’s hard to hold dust. What was once something so very precious is now reduced to nothing but weightless powder even the slightest wind could carry away. We feel desperately hopeless. Dust begs us to believe the promises of God no longer apply to us. That the reach of God falls just short of where we are. And that the hope of God has been snuffed out by the consuming darkness all around us.
My own life has certainly held seasons of dust. And if we could sit together over coffee, I imagine you would have some kind of shattered dust story to share with me, too. We are alike in that way. We’re united with our tears, even if our circumstances are different.
We’re also united in our desire for God to fix it all. Edit this story so it has a different ending. Repair this heartbreaking reality.
But what if fixing, editing and repairing isn’t at all what God has in mind for us in this shattering?
What if, this time, God desires to make something completely brand-new? Right now. On this side of eternity. No matter how impossible our circumstances may seem.
You see, dust is the exact ingredient God loves to use.
We think the shattering in our lives could not possibly be for any good. But what if shattering is the only way to get dust back to its basic form so something new can be made? We can see dust as a result of an unfair breaking. Or, we can see dust as a crucial ingredient.
Think about a plain piece of ice. If ice stays in a cube, it’s always just a square of ice. But if the ice melts, it can be poured into a beautiful form to reshape it when it’s frozen again. Dust is much the same; it’s the basic ingredient with such great potential for new life.
Of all the things God could have used to make man, He chose dust: “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7, NIV).
Jesus used the dust of the ground to restore a man’s sight. Jesus said, “‘While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes” (John 9:5-6, NIV). And after the man washed in the pool of Siloam, he went home seeing.
And, when mixed with water, dust becomes clay. Clay, when placed in the potter’s hands, can be formed into anything the potter dreams!
“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8).
“He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the LORD. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel’” (Jeremiah 18:6, NIV).
Oh, how I love and need the hope God has tucked into these verses.
Dust doesn’t have to signify the end. Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin.
I don’t know what hard realities have left you feeling shattered, friend. But I do know this: We can trust our God. We can trust Him with our dust.
Our greatest disappointments and disillusionments — things that shake us and break us and make us wonder about everything — don’t have to mean all hope is lost. We can place our lives fully in the hands of the Potter. We can dare to believe He is making something glorious out of dust, out of us.
All Things Work Together for Good – Streams in the Desert – June 10
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, (Rom 8:28)
How wide is this assertion of the Apostle Paul! He does not say, “We know that some things,” or “most things,” or “joyous things,” but “ALL things.” From the minutest to the most momentous; from the humblest event in daily providence to the great crisis hours in grace.
And all things “work’—they are working; not all things have worked, or shall work; but it is a present operation.
At this very moment, when some voice may be saying, “Thy judgments are a great deep,” the angels above, who are watching the development of the great plan, are with folded wings exclaiming, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” (Ps. 145:17)
And then all things “work together.” It is a beautiful blending. Many different colors, in themselves raw and unsightly, are required in order to weave the harmonious pattern.
Many separate tones and notes of music, even discords and dissonances, are required to make up the harmonious anthem.
Many separate wheels and joints are required to make the piece of machinery. Take a thread separately, or a note separately, or a wheel or a tooth of a wheel separately, and there may be neither use nor beauty discernible.
But complete the web, combine the notes, put together the separate parts of steel and iron, and you see how perfect and symmetrical is the result. Here is the lesson for faith: “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.”
In one thousand trials it is not five hundred of them that work for the believer’s good, but nine hundred and ninety-nine of them, and one beside.
“GOD MEANT IT UNTO GOOD” (Gen. 50:20).