Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,
unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
— Ephesians 3:20-21
Nothing succeeds like excess. When it comes to blessings, God’s got that gig down pat. He knows how to thrill, comfort, astound and amaze. And when He does it all at the same time, the impact is thorough, long-lasting and utterly restorative. You realize how silly you are for worrying that God doesn’t have a plan to make things come out all right. Just have a little faith!
We escaped for the long Independence Day weekend with our married daughter and her hubby, along with the resident teenager, to a gorgeous golf club on the Nebraska prairie. It was a great family time, with long talks on the deck overlooking a river canyon; sightings of bison, elk and antelope; some boating, tubing and water-gun fights at a nearby reservoir, and, of course, golf.
It was a happy time, much-needed and perfectly timed. It was a strong counter-balance to some recent blows that Christians have taken in the public square. We were reeling after the shocking vote in the Nebraska Legislature to end the death penalty, as well as pro-Obamacare and pro-gay marriage decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But God. . . .
That’s one of my favorite phrases in the Bible. He really knows how to put things right with improbable blessings that seem to come out of nowhere. Three things stood out:
- Our daughter sank a 93-foot putt – yes, we walked it off – which my husband, who started playing golf the instant he emerged from the womb, declared was the longest putt he has even seen. We watched the ball travel up and down the undulations across the gigantic green as if magnetized toward the hole, our smiles of delight growing with every advancing foot, ending with whoops and leaps. But the deeper meaning was delightful, too. I realized that the momentary ups and downs of life, like these recent political setbacks, were meaningless in the purposeful advancement of God’s plan of salvation for each of us individually as well as for our nation and our world. You might feel as though you’ve lost on an important issue or are going in the wrong direction. But you’ve got to hang in there for the whole 93 feet. Then guess what? Stay faithful to God, and it’ll be . . . IN THE HOLE!
- Our son-in-law told a funny story about a buddy of his who was complaining about the task of filling out one of those wish lists for wedding gifts. He boasted that he didn’t care about material items and wasn’t looking forward to receiving a bunch of duplicate gifts. An example he gave: “With our luck, we’ll probably get two toasters and have to bring one back. What a hassle!” That was throwing down the gauntlet, to this group of guys. Word spread, and they all scoured the local Goodwills and garage sales. Sure enough, that groom and his bride received not one, not two, but TWELVE toasters. Of course, the guys all got them a real gift, too. But everybody is still laughing about what their faces must have looked like as they opened all those toasters. Getting two would have been funny. Getting TWELVE was hysterical! Be careful what you wish for – and what you DON’T wish for, too!
- Then on Saturday, Independence Day, we had resigned ourselves to no formal fireworks show because we were staying in such a remote, rural area. It had been awfully dry, so we didn’t even think we should light the sparklers we had brought out. That was a bummer. But we enjoyed a long dinner with lots of laughs as a big thunderstorm brewed off in the distance. We continued our conversation after dark on the private deck of our rented cabin, tipping back in the comfy patio chairs, listening to the pines whispering in the wind, and watching the lightning show to the north as the storm approached. “Ooh!” we would exclaim. “Ahhh!” “Wow!!!!” We had never seen such lightning – vertical, horizontal, circular, in single bursts and quadruples, over to the left, then to the far right, up, down and all around. It went on for over an hour. We quietly talked and laughed, sharing our amazement at the power and majesty of the show, until the first cool raindrops drove us inside to our beds. We all agreed that no manmade fireworks show on the planet could compare to what God did in the sky that night.
An impossibly long putt . . . 12 toasters . . . and a spectacular prairie thunderstorm. Who would guess they could make such a difference in your outlook? We came feeling kind of blah. We left refreshed, and ready to take on the world again.
But of course, God knows how to teach us to patiently wait for the final outcome of things. How to think big instead of little. How to look for Him in nature, appreciating His power, beauty and endless variety.
When you do those things, you regain perspective. You remember that on the prairie and at the seashore and in the mountains and in the cities, in the homes and workplaces and schools and courtrooms, as well as in our hearts, God is there . . . and all your problems are toast. †
By Susan Darst Williams | www.RadiantBeams.org | It’s a Guy Thing | © 2020