Friday, June 27, 2008

Kept and Tended

I interrupted this blog to make a phone call. Checking on an overdue invoice that has yet to be paid seemed important enough to distract me. I figured I'd do best to check on it and then resume writing. No answer. That's when I heard the still, small voice in my spirit. "Sarah, check on it with me." Hmmmm. "Call me, Sarah. I'll look into it for you." And once again, God gently reminds me that He is tending the garden of my life. Maybe you are like me in that I don't always think to call on God first. Generally, I handle things and it isn't until there seems to be a definite problem that I go to God. It's not that I view God as a last resort, it's more that it doesn't occur to me that God is literally interested in every single aspect of my life at all times. More importantly, it doesn't occur to me that God is sovereign in every aspect of my life and by not going to Him, I'm actually skipping the most important step. Isaiah 26:12 says, "O Lord, you make us secure, for even all we have accomplished you have done for us." It is so easy to forget that the contents of our lives have first come through the seive of our loving Father and that our accomplishments small or great are a clear testimony of the active involvement of that very Father. If someone were to cartoon me as a tree in God's garden, they'd have to add arms and legs to my branches because I'd be stretching my lanky limbs out towards the watering hose and I'd be hunching my trunk over attempting to pull weeds up around the base of my roots. I'd be completely contorted and not looking very beautiful as I attempted to tend to my own needs. Then, they'd need to draw God as the gardener, watering can in weathered hand standing back watching me--waiting patiently for me to realize He is ready and willing to keep the garden of my life. Isaiah 26:3 says, "You keep completely safe the people who maintain their faith, for they trust in you." (NET) That verse is also translated, "You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is stayed on thee..." The idea of complete safety was appealing to me when I read this passage so I dug a little deeper. The word keep is a Hebrew word that is used to express the idea of tending, maintaining, paying attention to or nurturing. It's a perfect gardening term--it's what the loving gardener does with all his plants. God uses the same word in Isaiah 27:3 when He says, "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every monment, lest any hurt it I will keep it night and day." That my friends is the kind of keeping to which God refers when He promises to keep us in perfect peace. The word also expresses the intent to blockade or guard from danger. Several years ago some precious members of our church had their house broken into while they were at home. They of course dialed 911 immediately and proceeded to go through a terrifying experience while they awaited help. I've often thought of the events that unfolded in that families' life that evening and thanked God for protecting them physically. What if they had never bothered to call 911? What if they had heard the sounds of an intruder and then seen the telephone on the bedside table and turned, gathered their children and huddled in the closet? Help would never have come. The question would not have been if help was there or available it would have been why didn't they call? It's the same with us. So often as believers we ask the wrong questions. Where is God when I'm going through something? Will God work in this situation? Those are the wrong questions. The right question is, "Why aren't you calling out to Him?" Home Depot's slogan current slogan is: You can do it, we can help. That's the world we live in--a world where we do for ourselves. My husband and I are lifetime do-it-yourselfers. Right now we are in the process of building our own house. We've repaired our own cars, made our families' wedding cakes, put in our own patios and on and on. If it can be done solo, we'll try it. That's the way we work. But that is so contrary to the heart of God. If God were to have a slogan it might be, I can do it, you can watch. Or perhaps, I can do it, you can be amazed. Or, I can do it, you can relax. You get the idea. God's clear desire for us is to tend to us, to pay attention to every single tiny aspect of our overflowing lives--the unpaid invoices, the annoying neighbor, the angry teenager, the ailing spouse, the marriage in distress, the burnt cookies, the overgrown lawn, the vehicle with more miles than life left, the crick's in our necks and the aches in our backs too. God knows. Quit trying to pick at your own weeds and garden pests. Quit trying to water yourself and drink from His watering can. You are kept whether you realize it or not. And kept by the God who fashioned and formed every single piece of your life--He knows. It was Him who allowed the contents of your life and He is able to fashion and manicure them into a masterpiece, but we must be what He created us to be--a display of his glory. We were not meant to keep ourselves and when we try we don't reflect our Father's face we become a mangled mess. A plant is most glorious when it is reaching heavenward toward the sun, and we would do well to do the same--seek the Son. We are a kept people. We are a people not abandoned, not forsaken or forgotten. We are a people whose God is present and attending. May we live in the peace that comes from a life at rest. Listen with me: Natalie Grant: Held Read with me: John 4:14, Psalm 1:3

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