Last week I spent three days with 15 high schoolers in the middle of nowhere Nebraska, in a billion degree heat. For most adults this may sound like some kind of crazy nightmare, but truly it was glorious. A couple of days set aside to hear from God. To soak in the truth of our identity, and our destiny, and the One who speaks to us in whispers, and in mountains, and in breezes, and in truths.
I was sitting outside under a tree, swatting biting ants off my feet and thighs and thinking about Matthew 6:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Oh my soul, there is so much!
What God spoke to me in this small moment was this: this is a lesson learned from birds, and from lilies. In our crazy modern world, with computers and internet and phones and all the rest of it – we don’t just happen upon these things. Observing bird behavior and knowing the types of plants doesn’t come naturally. It’s an effort. We literally have to plan an adventure, and take a backpack and go outside and sit among them to even see them, or even know them, to simply learn the lessons that they have for us. Creation is in-built with lessons from the Lord that you can only learn by being among it. So, be among it. It is an act of worship, and a teacher. Go, and see, and learn from them.
Every day has many problems. I have the BBC App on my phone, and so I quite literally feel the weight of global devastation in my hand.
One friend recently (jokingly?) asked another if the flag would ever be at full-mast again.
There is death, violence, hatred, slaughter, and horrible, awful realities galore.
A friend posted a small poem by Warsan Shire:
“later that night
I held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the
where does it hurt?
I sit and learn lessons from lilies, while the world around me literally SCREAMS out in pain.
And yet, I have the antidote. I have the antidote. I have the antidote.
How do people live without the Creator? I don’t understand it. How do they come to terms with this reality? This broken awful? This wretched existence? This glorious life of exceedingly confusing contrasts?
The Word makes everything make sense. It makes the lilies make sense, and it make the tragedies make sense, and it makes me make sense amid the much of it.
I have eternity, and this place isn’t my home. The best is yet to come. I have a purpose in the middle of it. And the one that overtakes it all forever: Jesus loves me. The worth of something is determined by how much people are willing to pay for it. And I was paid for by the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. The One who was, and is and is to come. Amen.
Is not life more than food? Or the body more than clothing? You are valuable. Do not be anxious. Have faith. Seek first His Kingdom. Learn these lessons from the lilies and the birds.
CFCI Communications Coordinator