coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17 (ESV)
This morning I slept in until about 7:30 AM. I got out of bed and decided that after getting ready for fellowship, I would go to a coffee shop down the road to get some breakfast and caffeine before heading to fellowship.
On my way, I stopped to look for Oliver (the stray dog I befriended after moving here) and was delighted when instead of me finding him, he found me and greeted me with big wags and lots of begging for belly rubs. He and I then walked together to the coffee shop where I told him I was going inside and if he waited I would be right back out. I looked outside as I ordered my coffee and breakfast and saw Oliver laying down patiently in front of the coffee shop doorway. He waited for me until I came back out and together we shared a ham and cheese sandwich on the steps of the coffee shop. My first thought was, “Humans don’t deserve dogs. They are too good.” Then I realized it’s not that dogs are good, it is that He, my heavenly Father, is good. I have been so blessed. I know that my friendship with this patient stray is undoubtedly from the L-rd.
After a shared breakfast on this chilly morning, I walked Oliver back to his street before boarding a bus and heading to fellowship. In October, I celebrated one year of attending this Korean fellowship in China. A bit odd yes, but such a blessing. As I sat down in my seat I noticed a little boy observing me curiously from a row across the way. I began making silly faces his way and in a few seconds he was squirming with giggles and wore a big smile on his face. I continued to make funny faces as the boy’s father noticed his laughter and saw my ridiculous expressions. The father laughed too at the boy’s happy amusement.
As I sat in my chair awaiting the start of the service, I thought about how simple my morning had been, but how blessed I felt in response to it. A morning full of dirty belly rubs, patient furry eyes, goofy faces and a child’s laugh. I continued to dwell on why I haven’t felt this way for much of the past month. I knew the answer immediately. I haven’t been seeking out the little bits of good that the Father has given to me.
My focus of late has been my unfinished to do list (why does it only seem to get longer?), my lack of time (this wasn’t supposed to take this long!), the emotions of relationships and doing life with people (why are people so complicated?), the ever growing number of grey hairs on my head (I’m only 27!), the stress of organizing this event or that activity (I think this is supposed to be fun, but I’m feeling too frazzled to enjoy it right now), the pressures of parent contacts, grades, the end of the semester (Chicken + chop - head = me!), and the simple, but strenuous challenges that come daily with being a teacher (Did I really choose this career?). Most of the month, my internal thoughts have been wrapped up in one very true and taxing statement, “Man, life is really hard right now.” I hope you can imagine my surprise at finding myself wholly content and at peace over something so simple as sharing breakfast with a dog and making a kid laugh. Those tiny things seemed so GOOD. However, I realize that what made them good was not the events themselves, but my recognition that they were from the L-rd. By accepting them as beautiful, truly good gifts from above… I loved them all the more.
I wonder how many times in the past month I have missed out on seeing the little goods my Father has given me because I chose instead to focus on what I perceived as the big “bads”. Noticing the little bit of good from Him, surprisingly helped me feel overwhelmed by a lot of good. I just can’t help, but think this lesson I have been reminded of today is a perfect reminder of the reason for the season.
A band of shepherds.
My pr-yer for you today – friend, family member, and reader – is that you stop to see the little bits of good that you have been gifted today. The Father above is thinking of you as He holds you in his hands with a little, lot of His goodness.
Psalm 145:9 (ESV)