You just never know

As a graphic designer, it is my job to develop marketing solutions that will meet a client’s needs. It’s more than simply communicating a message; it’s doing so in an innovative, unique, creative way. This week I got to be on the receiving end of the ultimate in creative thinking: one of God’s brainstorms. His ways are always above our ways.

Almost a year ago, I wrote a letter of complaint to a contractor that had worked on our house. We’d had problems with one of the employees, and our bill was much higher than the estimate. I wanted him to know the problems so he could correct them for future customers. I didn’t hear back from him, and except for feeling awkward when I’d seen him, I hadn’t thought much about it.

Earlier this week my main client filed bankruptcy, and I found out that the already-overdue checks for two months’ work were not on their way as I’d been told. Naturally I prayed. The next day, we had our ladies’ prayer group. And we also prayed, of course. For many things, but in particular, for my finances. The very next day, my mailman delivered an envelope from the contractor. Included with a letter explaining and apologizing for the situation was a check. A nice check. He had felt “the conviction of the Holy Spirit many times regarding this,” he wrote, and he wanted to make things right. He apologized repeatedly for taking so long to address the situation.

But here’s what that man did not know. He didn’t know that the money wasn’t important to us last year. We wouldn’t still have it. But now, today – THAT was the moment it was needed. The week in which I’d wondered where in the world I could find some extra money. The week in which I’d gone over and over my books, looking for any possibility of more income. The week in which I needed God to show me a solution that could only be from Him. The week in which I needed to be reminded that I can trust Him to provide.

This money – I didn’t make it happen. I didn’t find it. I didn’t expect it nor did I even know it was a possibility. But He already had an answer on its way to me before I asked. I had to laugh at our Lord’s ingenuity. And give thanks for the man who, by listening to the Holy Spirit, was part of this wonderful, unexpected solution. The kind of brilliant answer you wish you could claim as your own. Creativity at its best.

Snowbound

I look out my window at the snow softly piling up… overwhelmed with gratitude for my God, who created such gentle beauty. The snow keeps coming. The wind picks up, the visibility is diminished, the snow drifts into long glistening scallops, forming an unfamiliar landscape. People are in line at Wal-mart frantically buying milk and bread and eggs, certain that they’ll be snowed in by morning. I’m home, smiling every time I look out. Not because I love cold, and not because I want to be stuck at home, but because the weather is a tangible reminder to me of who is really in control.

Have you ever noticed that mankind has discovered amazing cures through medicine, that we have developed technology that will allow man to fly, that we are able to instantly transmit information across the world and explore the ocean depths and far reaches of space – yet we can’t control something as basic as the weather? We can’t even accurately predict it. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice and sleet, hail – we are at their mercy. 12 hours of falling snow can trap us in our homes for days, stop transport of food and other supplies, close down businesses, bring our daily lives to a standstill. Every time I see another example of extreme weather, I give thanks. I humbly tell my God how much I love Him and how thankful I am that He is in control. The Mighty One who can command storms and move unseen winds is the same One who gently cradles me in His arms when I need comfort. He is the One who bottles up my tears, who woos me with His love. And He is the same One who has power and ability beyond anything I can fathom.

I think the weather serves to remind us that there are things mankind simply cannot do. We must rely on our Creator and trust in His power. So when you hear snow plows passing in the night, or get phone calls about school being canceled, relax in the knowledge that our God, our Creator, our King choreographed each flake of snow and directed the gusts of wind that sculpted them into impassable hills. He knows every detail of the weather, just as He cares about every detail of our lives. So wrap up in something warm, sit back, and watch God’s work with wonder and gratitude. (written Feb. '07)

All clear!

Mom had scans done this week to check and see if the cancer had returned, and the doctor said NO, IT HAS NOT! Her scan is clear and absolutely unchanged from the last scan she had on Oct. 29th. He even used the word miraculous, apparently, saying that her type of cancer rarely stays away this long. I think she's still in shock, but I'm busy praising God for this wonderful gift of health and time! Temporarily or permanently clear, it remains to be seen, but I know if my God can keep her healthy for these past two months, He can do it for the next two months. And the two, four, sixteen or even eighty months after that. Nothing is too big for Him, and nothing is too hard for Him. Even when we don't get the answers we think we want, it's certain that He still heard and answered. And as long as we allow Him to walk beside us, we can get through. But tonight I will sleep peacefully in His arms, thankful that my will aligned with His for this one very special request.

A clear view

I don’t know why I keep buying sunglasses, because I just can’t stand to wear them. I usually get a new pair when we go on vacation, but within seconds of putting them on I have to take them off. It drives me crazy not being able to see the true colors, not knowing how vivid the water is, or the skies, or the trees. Sometimes the colors are prettier through the glasses, but still, I don’t like feeling like my view has been distorted or altered in any way. It seems fake, false and, well, just not right.

Our pastor Nathan taught last week on how he doesn’t like substitutes — give him sugar instead of Sweet ‘n’ Low, Coke instead of Pepsi, cream instead of skim milk – he wants the real thing. It’s a different application, but I think this is similar to my sunglasses issues. He doesn’t want anything to come between him and the real thing. I think that’s why I don’t like to see anything but the true colors. Whether it is good or bad, I want to experience the reality of it. I want to see the nuances of shading, the gradations of tone and the play of light and shadow. I want to know what it really looks like. Every single detail.

And I want the same thing with my God. I want to see Him for who He is, know Him as the perfect, holy, never-changing God. And learn each and every one of the countless other aspects of Him, too. I want to see Him clearly, and see Him for myself. “For there is...one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.*” I don’t want to look through rose-colored glasses and then have a skewed perception, and I don’t want to look through someone else’s glasses and see what they see. I want to see Him myself. And I think He honors that. When we look for Him, look really hard, He lets us find Him. And, while He’s in the process of revealing those beautiful facets, those incredible details, those amazing sights, I think maybe He even turns up the intensity of the colors to become more beautiful than ever. Just for us.

*1 Timothy 2:5