by June Friesen,
5-6 God’s Message:
“Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans,
Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone and sets God aside as dead weight.
He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie, out of touch with the good earth.
He lives rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows.
7-8 “But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.”
At times in life, one struggles with the seasons of nature as well as the seasons of one’s life. So often the human tendency is to wish for warm weather when it is cold and when it is warm, we wish it would be cold; when it is rainy, we wish it would not rain for a while and then when it does not rain, we wish it would rain. I for one have been known to be a bit like this although in the last number of years, through a practice I gained in the 1990’s of gratitude, I have changed to embracing the moment. Yes, there are times when I wish for something else, but then I realize I need to be thankful to God for where I am at the moment. As I came upon this space above, I could not help but notice the plant in the center that has the light shining through the leaves. I am not sure what gave the coloring or the light as it was but I realized that God was putting on a grand display of extraordinary color here and this plant was embracing it to the fullest and sharing it with the world. And so I am challenged in my life – if God chooses to use me for a grand display of His wonder, beauty and work, that I may not even fully know how to embrace, will I be available for His work of glorious wonder and grace?
HERE I STAND
Here I stand today, Lord….
In this world of wonder, beauty and grace
Wondering what display You are at work to show me
Wondering what beauty You are going to create where I see ‘not much,’
Wondering and marveling at the power of Your grace at work.
Beauty is said to be in the eye of the ‘beholder’ –
As each one of us seems to have a somewhat personal definition of beauty –
Yet in the summer beauty of your sun and nature’s creations
The earth is dressed beautifully with splendid apparel.
Grace is a gift to humanity from Your hand, O God,
And as I observe and also ponder the gift of Your splendid creation
I see Your presence displayed in so many ways,
Reflection, shadows, transparency, colors,
New beginnings of buds and petals unfurling,
As well as the edges drying, curling, dying,
With the promise of new beginnings once again as the seeds form and scatter
Falling to the earth to wait for their opportunity to embrace life.
Here I stand today, Lord,
I, too, am a person amazingly created,
A person with so many capabilities that You designed just for me to use
To fill the world with amazing love, hope, and nurturing,
Yet it is for me like the rest of nature –
I, too, need to embrace the presence of Your Son in my life,
And as I embrace the presence of Your Son it is then that You, O God,
Are able to be that light of hope to the hopeless that walk my way,
You are able to show forgiveness to those who feel bereft of any hope,
You are able to offer a new beginning as Your hand is extended through mine,
You are able to really be alive and real on this earth and in this world today.
Lord, today it is my prayer that my heart will be open to receive Your presence but also open to letting Your presence flow out of it to others. It is my prayer that as I walk through the world today, on the sidewalks, through the stores, in the fields, hiking in nature, through the prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, – wherever my feet may go – that my words will be your words, that my eyes will see as your eyes see, that my ears will hear as your ears hear, and that people will truly know that it was Your presence that touched their life today. Amen and amen.
All photographs are by June Friesen taken at the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona, 2021. Used with permission.
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