“We have good news and bad news,” read my text on Christmas day. I was in NC spending Christmas with my family. My neighbor, Catherine, was checking on the house and taking care of our animals while I was away. She continued, “…Baby Jesus floated away yesterday- the good news- Lee, Mrs. Ellen and I cleared your drive so you can get to your house.” Thank the Lord for wonderful neighbors like these sweet people!
We have lived near our babbling creek for 15 years and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The children spent many hours playing in it while growing up.
Unfortunately, when we get what I call “gully washers” and there is a lot of rain in a short amount of time, this babbling creek turns into a roaring river. Thankfully, the water has never reached the house, but the rushing water will sometimes wash the gravel from our driveway and leave behind piles of leaves, sticks, and logs.
For many years we have enjoyed a manger scene in our yard to remind ourselves and others that the real reason for Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Well, this year the flood was on Jesus’ birthday. I was upset to hear that the most important character in our display had washed away. Then the thought came, maybe there is someone downstream who really needs to meet Jesus today.
My son, Nathan (age 16), and I were working last week shoveling the gravel back into the driveway and I was silently talking to God. “Lord, I wish you would have held the water in the banks so we wouldn’t have to spend all this time cleaning up.” I wondered why life has to be so hard some time. It’s because we aren’t home yet. This isn’t heaven. It’s earth.
The Apostle Paul addresses this in Romans 8 about how even creation is unsettled and waiting for God to make all things right. He goes on to say, For I reckon that the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
When we are going through difficult times, it may seem as if God doesn’t see it, know about it, or even cares. That could not be further from the truth. Psalm 139 describes how God knows every detail about us, but loves us anyway.
Immediately, it was as if God was saying, “I love you, Gaye. I know what you are going through and I care.” I remembered Jeremiah 31:3, The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn thee.
We have several walnut trees on our property so I’ve seen lots of opened walnut shells, but they have always been circular. I have never seen one like this. I asked myself, Could God have made this shell just for me? Last spring when I was just beginning my journey with grief after losing my husband, did God form this walnut knowing I would need the confirmation and assurance of His love for me on this day, January 2, 2016? Does God care that much? Could the Creator of the world with all its billions of people over the ages be such a personal God for me?
I came to the conclusion of YES! YES! YES! YES! God knows the end from the beginning. God knew last spring that some of the hardest days of my life were about to unfold. He cared then and He cares now. He will always care because His love is unconditional, it never gives up or quits…ever!
In Isaiah 54:5 says, For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
A good husband will often remind his wife of his love for her. God has done that for me. He does that for all of us. Although I fully believe God did make this walnut for me, I also believe He made it for you! I believe if you are reading this, God is reminding you of his great love too. Because when God blesses us with things like this, He wants us to share it with others.
What a gift this walnut is! Out of all that debris, what are the chances that walnut would be opened up? That it would be lying in the open and not buried in a pile? That my eyes would even notice it? I firmly believe God directs our steps and orchestrates our days and every circumstance in our lives, whether good or bad.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23, 24)
And when God works a miracle for us or reveals something to us, it is our responsibility to pass that blessing on to others.
So no matter how you are feeling today, please know that God truly knows and cares about what you are going through and He loves you supremely. James 4:8 promises, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Let’s draw near today.
Keep looking up,
P.S. My neighbor, Catherine Paulsen Daugherty has two wonderful blogs I think you would really enjoy where she shares yummy recipes along with her spiritual insights. You can find them at www.facebook.praycookblog.com and her personal blog is entitled, My Daily Bread Body and Soul. Check them out!