Great Joy

I would love to share a picture with you.  The picture would be what joy looks like.  But that is challenging to capture in a photograph.  It is even more challenging for me since my camera went missing.

Of course, there are numerous devices which I own that I could use to take photographs.  I’m typing on one right now.  But for me the best options for achieving the perfect picture are found on my Nikon camera.  I love this camera.  We bought it before we went to Europe two years ago.  It has a wi-fi setting on it so I can move the pictures miraculously through the air from the camera to my iPad.

Since at any given time this camera may have priceless photographs on it, it falls into the category of things which I hide from burglars.  Recently there have been several break-ins in our area.  These usually occur during the daytime by means of a door being kicked in.  The thieves target empty houses.  At our house there is almost always somebody home, so I don’t worry too much about it.

Inevitably though, the house had to be emptied of people.  It was just a matter of time before we all had some place to go at the same time, leaving our driveway empty, which in my eyes was like posting a “Welcome” sign to hooligans.

So, I hide things.  Laptops, tablets, jewelry, cameras.  Usually I remember where I hide them.  Sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I don’t even remember that I hide them, which brings me to my camera.

We had a family gathering and I went to get the camera.  Hum, I must have left it in the other room, I thought to myself.  Immediately that feeling of dread came over me.  I must have hidden my camera. I wonder where.

I spent the next several days ransacking my house, much like a burglar would have done only neater.  After three days I’d say my house was more organized than ever.  Drawers are clean, cupboards are orderly.  I would take a picture to show you only…..

I prayed that God would show me where my camera was hiding.  I prayed this several times.  I guess God wanted me to get my house organized.  Plus, God wanted to show me something about trust.  I needed to learn to trust Him more.  I could argue that the items I hide are items that are of sentimental value or, in the case of electronics, have things that are difficult to replace stored in them.  Financial records, pictures, the book I’m writing.  Good argument, but I still realized I had to trust all of that with God.

On Tuesday night I prayed before I went to bed.  I asked God to show me where the camera was the next day.  I didn’t want to pressure him, but I was spending a lot of time looking for it.  Hours.  Days.  I felt unproductive and frustrated.

The next day I continued my search, organizing along the way.  No camera.  That night Bob and I were packing things for our trip to Arlington National Cemetery.  It was time to place his father’s ashes there.  I had resigned to the fact that I would be using my phone to take pictures.

Earlier that day I took a flashlight and shined it in dark places in my house to see if that elusive camera in its black case was hiding in a corner or something.  This was to no avail.  For some reason I picked up that flashlight again, aimed it into a corner of my bedroom and voila – there was my camera!

I was giddy with excitement.  I grabbed Bob by the arms and did the dance of joy (a la Balki and Larry from the 1980s TV show Perfect Strangers).  I rejoiced.  I thanked God.  Bob looked at me like I was weird.  (That happens a lot.)  But he rejoiced with me, too.

God gently showed me that I need not fear or be crazy protective over anything that I think I need.  He will supply all my needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).  Therefore, if I need something, anything, He will make sure that I have that.  I can trust him.

Then it hit me.  What great joy our Heavenly Father has when one of us who was lost is found.  The light of Jesus shined into the darkness that was my life and I was restored to my Heavenly Father through his shed blood.  Now that’s joy.  Even something to dance and shout about.

 

 

Thank you, God, for Red Lights

I was heading to my son’s house to stay with my grandsons for a few days.  It had been a busy morning and I left my home an hour later than I had planned.  I needed to be there by 2:30 to receive the boys from the school bus, and I had to stop at Costco for gas.  It was 2:05 when I finished filling up.  There was plenty of time, except I needed four things from inside the store – four things that were just steps away.  If I could be in and out in 10 minutes, I would just make it in time to get the boys.  Of course, getting in and out of Costco in ten minutes would be a major miracle.  I was up for a miracle.

I was back in the car at 2:18; that was thirteen minutes, which was a major accomplishment for me but only a minor miracle.  As I drove down SR436 I prayed that I would get to their home before they would.  I knew it was tight.  I felt like God was saying, “Trust me.  Be at peace.”

That meant that I didn’t need to give in to anxiety and wouldn’t need to go 80 mph when I got on I-4.  I was at peace.  (The thought of a delay due to getting pulled over by the police occasionally crept into my mind.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.)

file4281249501933 (1)I met one green light after another.  I thanked God for the green lights.  I knew he was using them to get me there on time.  Then I came to a red light.  I thought about the boys.  God gave me peace.  He didn’t say I would get every light green.  He only told me to trust him.  That meant that even if they had to wait for me, he was caring for them.  So, I thanked God for the red light.  After all, he was in charge of that, too.

I pulled into their neighborhood and had to go through the security gate, where three trucks were lined in front of me.  I sat there waiting as a school bus rolled by me.  One of the trucks went through and another school bus passed.

Finally I got through the gate, it felt like it took forever, but it was only about four minutes.  I turned onto their street and there were the boys – one house away from their home.  I would have beaten them home if they hadn’t broken into a run when they saw me.  I am amazed at how God cares for his children.  He gave me just the right amount of green and red lights to get me there in a timely manner, but most of all he gave me peace that I could trust him with every detail.  I just love that.