Thursday, August 15, 2013

God of Abundance



I have just returned from a week in Itasca County, on my annual
vacation.
The weather was cool and beautiful, the fish were reasonably
cooperative, and I spent the week praising the LORD in my heart for the
abundance of beauty and peace He provided at every turn.

I spent a morning on Caribou Lake, chasing lake trout where I could
clearly see boulders the size of Buicks 23 feet below me. A family of
loons watched in curiosity from a short distance away as I attempted
(unsuccessfully) to persuade fish 135 feet down into chomping a plastic
minnow. The fish finder said they were down there, but fishing for them
felt more like an act of faith than anything else.

I spent several mornings on a little long and narrow lake where a few
beautifully breakfast-sized northern pike attacked a lure I had painted
to look like a frog months ago in a plan I had plotted just for these fish in
this lake. The water was still and calm, the sun shone brightly in a jewel
blue sky, puffy popcorn clouds sailed by peacefully, and the white pines
on the shore towered seventy feet above me in the majesty of their
whispered witness.

On the last day, my morning Bible verse was Isaiah 40:31:
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall
mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they
shall walk and not faint.

When I finished fishing on that day, I stood on the shoreline with the
sun glittering off the water, raised my arms, and praised the LORD for
the abundance of beauty and blessings I had enjoyed during the week. 
In the middle of that prayer, an eagle soared into view high above.
As I drove home, my eyes saw the abundance of God’s blessings all
around me. The entire week had gone by with no serious personality
conflicts among the nine of us there. There had been no mechanical
failures of the numerous internal combustion devices involved. Every
meal we prepared resulted in (seemingly) more leftovers than had gone
into making the meal. Even a mundane drive to go fetch a few items
from the store was a beautiful journey through the forest.

Everywhere I looked, I could see His abundance and blessing in homes
and families and crops and businesses and churches and… well, the list
went on and on. 

Yes, I have been blessed beyond measure and my cup does overflow.
And then it occurred to me that the blessings I had experienced had
come as a result of what God had given me to be able to put myself
in those situations, but none of the actual blessings themselves were
things that I had bought and paid for.

Sure, I bought the gas to drive to the lake and I bought the boat and the
lures and some of the food we ate, but the lake and the loons and the
fish and the trees and the sun and the clouds and the eagle soaring far
above and the people who love me were things I had never owned.

Oh Lord, your love is something I have never owned. It is not I who
bought and paid for the grace that freed me from the bondage and
slavery that is sin, but what You paid in the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is not of my doing, but yours.

Amen.

Today’s Praise

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come
to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 )

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