Rejoice always, I say it again rejoice…in everything, by prayers and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. Philippians 4
Meditate: God, who is the Giver of all good gifts to me and the world…
Ungratefulness– all humanity’s dissatisfaction with the good gifts of God–this is the fall.
What I desire: To live joyfully and faithfully, receiving and using all of God’s good gifts so that I may attain the goal God desires me to reach: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
A triplet of stars, a constellation in the black. A threefold cord that might hold a life? One Thousand Gifts, Voskamp
I fretted as I waited for through yet one more delay from American Airlines, standing in front of the frozen luggage carousal in Tucson International Airport. What did it matter? Why did I fret?
Hurry always empties a soul.
For all our frenzied running seemingly toward something, could it be that we are in fact fleeing–desperate to escape pain that pursues?
Whatever the pace, time will keep it and there’s no outrunning it, only speeding it up and pounding the fee harder; the minutes pound faster too. Race for more and you’ll snag on time and leak empty. The longer I keep running, the longer the gash, and I drain, bleed away.
Hurry always empties a soul.
Time. Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy.
Wherever you are, be all there is only possible in the posture of eucharisteo. I want to slow down and taste life, give thanks, and see God.
And I am back. There and back again. And what did faithful Sam Gamgee learn on his great adventure to the Crack of Doom and back again?
I have left the land of seething volcanoes and fog settled down low and gladiola-scented paths and black beans and fried plantains and papaya juice, back to the land of big skies and empty spaces and the heat trickling down my neck.
And even in the pain, the shredding pain present, the remembered pain past, the pain distant wars and rumors of wars broadcast through the mounted television overhead, and the pain so close standing next to me in the somber-eyes hidden under the NRA cap clamping down thick fuzzy hair, I can receive joy.
When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows.
My soul doth magnify the Lord.
God is not in need of magnifying by us so small, but the reverse. It’s our lives that are little and we have falsely inflated self, and in thanks we decrease and the world returns right. I say thanks and I swell with Him, and I swell the world and He sirs me, joy all about.
To name His gifts is to move into His presence and listen to His love unending and know the grace uncontainable.
And there is a reason why just before I bustled off to my gift of Europe, and I had to change all of my internet passwords in one flurried moment because of some new vicious bug created by Russian mafiosos or Chinese technocrats that was out to steal everything of value, I chose variations of a theme: Philippians 4. So that I would meditate and be reminded of Paul’s words, written from a prison cell.
Because really, really, all that I have of value comes from His hand.
Rejoice, I say it again rejoice.