Sunday, June 14, 2009


Many years ago, when my niece was just a little girl, she cross-stitched a sweet, tiny picture for me that said this:
"The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings."

That innocent yet confident declaration comes back to me whenever I find joy and wonder in the many feasts for spirit, soul, and senses that surround us all in life on this earth. It's something that happens often.

In these days of personal, national, and international turmoil and uncertainty, however, I confess that the cares of this world sometimes cloud my ability to see all the good stuff. This is sad, and wrong, because I am convinced that God has purposefully put all sorts of wonders in front of our eyes to give us happiness in the hard times, and more importantly, to remind us of his presence and love at all times.

Here is a case in point. Years ago on a mission trip I visited the nation of Estonia when it was still part of the USSR. To our team, first-time observers of the communist world, it seemed the darkest, most depressed place on earth. (That was until we went to Moscow.) I wrote in my journal then that everything there seemed colorless, in faded grayscale, like old World War II newsreels. Yet in the midst of the capital city of Tallinn, there was a flower market that had the most diverse, unusual, and colorful flowers that any of us had ever seen. Everywhere people were buying and giving flowers. One of the young women I was with marveled at this and asked God why they had such fabulous flowers in this cold, northern land with a very short growing season. Her impression from the Lord was that he had provided the Estonians with the flowers to give them color and joy in their drab lives and to let them know that he was with them. Sure sounds like a God-thing to me.

Today I had just such a reminder of God's presence and love in the gray times when I photographed the simple verbena blossoms from the backyard that you see posted here. In it's brightness, it seemed to be enjoying the perfect weather we had today just as much as I did.

Gazing at this little flower reminded me once again that the world really is full of gifts from God that bring a stronger, purer joy than the riches and power of kings. We just have to have eyes to see them. Stress and anxiety blind us. Gratitude to the Source of all we have brings the good stuff into sharp focus. God help us all to look around ourselves, see, and be glad.

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