I stand and look out on the swampy grasslands, filled with birdlife, as evening sets its golden haze gently down on the pine forested horizon. Aged gnarled gum trees are caressed by the cool sea breeze that attends this scene each evening. In the distance, sounding like it's in my subconscious, a lone dog yelps and barks, at nothing really, and the odd complacent moo of a cow, floats across the breeze, whilst high above a hawk is flying, waiting for some innocent prey to satisfy his hunger.
As I contemplate this scene, I think of my life. There is a satisfying knowledge that it is in the hands of the Master Planner, who created all this, and controls the balance of nature. I thought too, that this would still be here, even if I were not, yet how important this all is in God's plan to reveal His might, strength and love to we mere mortals. The swamp lands remind me of the non-productive areas of my life, that I have not yet drained of the stagnant waters, and which now have been overgrown by weeds and coarse growth, that happily exists in that sort of environment. Yet out of that swamp God creates and perpetuates the beautiful birdlife that graces His world.
I am sure that some of the mot beautiful responses to God have come out of times when He is working in the swampy areas of my life. I can't get too complacent though, as I see the hawk circling overhead, I am only too aware that he, like the evil one is just waiting until some unsuspecting bird wanders far away from safety. Like hawks in real life it is interesting that the attack only comes when the victim has taken off. The gnarled old trees that stand firm, only ruffled by the breeze remind me of some of the constants and real values in life that have been sown in my heart by my great and sovereign God. These trees, like those constants have been rooted deeply in the nourishment of my life, and unless the lightning or severe disease strikes, will go on only ruffled in life's storms. The sky overhead reminds me of the omnipresence of God, tangible in its effects but not really definable. Lord I pray that the swampy areas of my life may bring forward new life and creativity as part of your beautiful creation.
Graeme Dawson 19/2/86
I ASKED GOD ...
I asked God to take away my habit.
God said: "No.
It is not for Me to take away, but for you to give it up."
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said: "No.
His spirit is whole. His body is only temporary."
I asked God to grant me patience.
He said: "No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
It isn't granted, it is learned."
I asked God to give me happiness.
God said: "No.
I give you blessings; happiness is up to you."
I asked God to spare me pain.
God said: "No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
And brings you closer to Me."
I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said: "No.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful."
I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said: "No.
I will give you life that you may enjoy all things."
I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me.
God said: "Ahhhh, finally you have the idea!"
I'm standing and looking out on swampy grasslands filled with birdlife as evening settles its golden haze gently down on the pine forested horizon. Aged gnarled gum trees are caressed by the cool sea breeze that attends this scene every evening and in the distance, sounding like it's in my sub-conscience, a lone dog yelps at nothing really and I hear the odd complacent moo of a cow floating by. High above a hawk is waiting for some innocent prey to satisfy his hunger.
As I contemplate this scene I think of my life. For years I've been aware of the satisfying knowledge that my life is in the hands of the master planner, who created all this and controls the balance of nature, and I realize that this would all be here even if I were not. Yet how important all this is at this time of my turmoil and how important is it that God reveals His might, strength and love to me as a mere mortal.
The swamp lands remind me of the non-productive areas of my life that I have not yet drained of the stagnant waters, Yet out of swampy areas God creates and perpetuates the beautiful birdlife that graces His world. I'm sure that some of my best responses to God have come out of times when He was working in the swampy areas of my life.
I can't get too complacent though, because as I see the hawk circling overhead I am only too aware that he, like the evil one is just waiting until some unsuspecting bird wanders away from safety, and I'm aware that hawks only attack when the victim has taken off.
The Gnarled old trees that stand firm and are only ruffled by the breeze, remind me of some of the constants in my life that have been sown in my heart by my great and sovereign God. Those trees, like these constants, have been rooted deeply in the nourishment of life and unless lightning or severe disease strikes, will continue only ruffled, in life's storms.
The sky overhead reminds me of the omnipresence of God, tangible in its effects but not really definable by me.
Lord, I pray that the swampy areas in my life may bring forth new life and creativity only overshadowed by your beautiful creation.
The last judgement day had come, the day to face my maker.
I knelt before the Lord along with many other souls.
Before us lay our lives like squares of a quilt in many piles.
An angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into the tapestry that was our lives.
But as my angel took the squares from my pile and started to sew them together, I noticed how ragged and empty they were and that they had many holes.
Each square was labeled as a part of my life.
The holes seemed to represent the difficult parts, the challenges and the temptations and the hardships I endured almost every day.
My squares seemed conspicuous; the others around me only seemed to have small imperfections in theirs.
I gazed on my life and I was disheartened.
My angel was sewing my ragged pieces together and with so many thread bare and empty parts, it was like sewing holes of air together.
Finally the time came when each of the lives were to be displayed and held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth.
We arose and each in turn held up our tapestries.
Others around me had finely woven quilts with brilliant colors that reflected rich lives out of which they had so much to bring.
My angel looked at me, it was my turn.
My gaze dropped to the ground in shame as I didn't have all those earthly fortunes with which to color my tapestry.
Yes, I had had love in my life, and laughter, but there had also been trials of illness and death and false accusations.
I had to start over many times.
I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again.
I had spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life.
I had often been held to ridicule, but I endured that painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hope.
And now I was facing the truth, my life was on display.
Would I be accepted as I was?
I slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light and an awe-filled gasp surrounded me.
They stood aghast with eyes wide open.
Then to my amazement, the light streamed through the holes creating a wonderful image, the face of Christ.
Then my Lord stood before me with warmth and love in His eyes.
He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardship, and My struggle.
Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me and less of you."
May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through.