Monday, September 14, 2009

Pumpkin spice lattes, Jacques Cousteau and the providence of God

Today makes me think of kickball. I loved kickball in my younger days. Kickball, such a simple contest, is made even simpler by the two-word phrase every kid has on the tip of his or her tongue at all times during the game: "do over."

As I would step up to the painted square on the ground I had grand visions of an epic blast unleashed by my right foot that schoolchildren would talk about in hushed tones for years to come. In my vision, all of my teammates would crowd around me to celebrate and then hoist me upon their not-so-broad shoulders as the whole playground learned of my prowess. When this exact scenario didn't play out, which was often, all I had to do was cry "do over" and I'd get to go again. As you might imagine, I yelled "do over" rather frequently.

It has been a "do over" kind of a day. Wrestling with some gnarly youth ministry stuff, a boatload of things on my to-do list, and, topping it all off, I made terrible coffee at home this morning. So, I started my "do over day" with a trip to Starbucks to at least right one wrong.

Shortly after ordering my Pumpkin Spice Latte (yes, I wrote it on the magical internet for anyone to read), a series of photographs on the wall caught my eye. Hung next to a quote from Jacques Cousteau, the first one featured a Great White Shark, a pale almost iridescent blue, hanging motionless as if by a string, against the deeper blue of the ocean background. Truly stunning. Turns out, the photographer takes some unbelievable underwater photos.

As I looked at photos of fish, crazy underwater plants and other creatures that defy my powers of description, Jesus' words popped into my head. "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns..." The fish of the sea reminded me of the birds of the air which reminded me of the Father's great love and care for me.

Even as I would want to cry out "do over" and make the difficult things ahead simply disappear, God says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." So, I won't cry out "do over," and not only because it won't do any good. No, I'll wait expectantly for the Lord's comfort and deliverance in the midst of it all, and when he acts, hoist his name up on my shoulders for the world to learn of his goodness.

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