Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
I woke up in a funk this morning. Normally I’m a fairly upbeat and optimistic person, but this morning I was feeling sad. I have recently learned that something in my life that I had hoped would work out a certain way is not going to.
It’s nothing to do with the virus, it’s just one of those life moments where things aren’t going to go according to what I was pretty much planning, instead once again I’m going to have to rely on God’s plan in God’s time. So frustrating when that happens!
So I lay there in bed wondering if I could have done something different or if I should do something different. Really, I was questioning my own worthiness in those moments and being pretty sure I was falling short.
Finally I pulled myself out of bed and grudgingly started my day. As I was grumping around the house feeling a bit sorry for myself I noticed my cat Cleo sitting on the quilt that one of my grandmothers made so very many years ago (no doubt quilted by the able fingers of the women in the community at some of the meetings of the “Stoney Point Friendship Club”)
The scene was too good not to grab my phone and snap a photo. (Ok, several photos – like potato chips, you can’t take just one!)
As I looked through the photos I had just taken I thought about Cleo’s story. She was part of a litter of kittens born under my brother’s shed about 10 years ago. I don’t know how many kittens there were originally, but Cleo was the only one that survived more than a short time. It took me several months to get her lured into the house – moving the food dish inches each day across the patio and into the house far enough to get the door shut behind her.
After a bit of a chase I was finally able to corner her and pick her up. She did not scratch or bite me instead she was pretty much frozen in fear all the time I held her. Eventually I did have to let her go back outside not knowing if I would see her again. But she was back the next day.
Perhaps her willingness to come back was because she had become best buds with my indoor cat, Lyle. They played together through the crack made by the door hinges for a long time before they got to be face to face. (They’re still best buds.)
As I thought back to that first day that I got Cleo to come in the house I thought how like our critters we can be – and the lessons we can learn from them.
When Cleo came into the house after that dish of food she thought she would eat and then go on with her usual day and her life as she knew it. So often we think we know what our plans are and how our life is going to go. After all, who knows better than us what is the best route for us? God.
God knows better and has better plans for us than even we do ourselves. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that – usually when our carefully laid plans get the door slammed on them and we find ourselves facing something different. Maybe facing something we didn’t ask for and didn’t think we wanted at all.
It’s okay to grieve a bit for what we hoped for that doesn’t happen. But we need to remember that we are never alone in our grief. God is with us and he has plans for us – plans that we don’t know yet but that will be better than what we can ever imagine for ourselves.
So, with that realization freshly planted in my heart once again (God has to remind me of stuff quite a few times – I tend to be a slow learner) I made myself a good breakfast and finished a totally fluff murder mystery by a favorite author while I sipped on a wonderful cup of my favorite tea. And I asked God to help me remember that if I but trust his leading, I will be much better than if I follow my own leading.
Lord, help us trust that even when things aren’t going the direction we would like and we are questioning our own worthiness that we are not alone. No matter what you are with us and you will lead us out of the darkness we encounter. Amen.