The Sign

A slightly stooped man carefully stepped out of his red truck, his thinning gray hair blowing random directions in the gusty autumn southwest winds.  The truck was not old and was not new.  It wore the dents and scratches of his craft.  He walked around to the truck bed and began unloading gray cement foundation blocks.  A new sign for the small church on the corner? I wondered.  Everything I knew about the denomination, well, plain, simple and functional fit.

That corner was one of the busiest in our area.  No matter where I was coming from, I had to turn on it every day.  And so I watched, fascinated, wondering what the sign would look like.  My husband joined in the guessing game.  Maybe it was just going to be one of those signs that required information to be manually lettered.  There were no electric wires that we could see.  Why would they use only gray foundation bricks?  Why are they going so slowly??  Why is the primary builder one man?  Oh, others came and went, helping with the basic masonry, but the slightly stooped man with the thinning gray hair that blew randomly in the gusty autumn winds as fallen leaves swirled around him slowly wielded his tools mostly by himself.

One day, beautiful and distinct brick-colored bricks appeared over the gray cement foundation blocks. The slightly stooped man now wore a jean jacket and sometimes a red ball cap over his thinning gray hair, as the winds turned toward the northwest and blew the dried up autumn leaves into the harvested corn field across the busy road.  I wondered how many other people who drove past the corner with the small church watched and wondered.  How many other people wanted to know why they didn’t just put up an electronic sign, because you know, that’s progress.

Once the man completed the bricks, he added large lighter color limestones, carefully selected for their shape and shade,  around the edges of the sign.  A curved piece appeared on the top of the sign and dark, opalisque tiles filled it, and smaller limestones bordered it, bringing out the colors in the tile.  Still, no writing, no church name, no information.  What good is a sign with no information? I thought.

For a few days, the wheel barrow and stones sit idly around the sign, and I lose interest. The days grow shorter and the dusk takes over the sky at 3:30 pm now.  It’s as if I look through a lense that has finger prints on it and nothing quite comes into focus.  Although I love the holidays, the waning daylight makes me often feel half functional.

But yesterday…yesterday, lamps appeared at either end of the sign with no information.  Large black wrought iron lamps with old world Dickens charm, warm flame-shaped bulbs shining through the foggy afternoon.  How could this be?  We had seen no electric wires.  The slightly stooped man with the thinning gray hair and the jean jacket stood with his sometimes helper gazing at the sign, a tool in his hand.

And that’s when God whispered.  I AM like that stooped man with the thinning gray hair that blows randomly in the wind.  You are like that sign that he creates.  You may feel like ordinary gray foundation blocks but I craft extradorinarily ordinary souls from scratch.  Let me take my time.  Let your light shine for Me as I finish my work.

God is not finished with you.  He fashions a one of a kind work of art, building the foundation first.   That foundation is Jesus Christ.

 

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16 ESV)

 

 

 


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Soaking Up the Son

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith…” Colossians 2:6-7

Some people are afraid of swimming under water.  Not me.  Ever since I was a little girl, swimming under water became an otherworld experience to me.  Muffled, quiet, just me and that underwater world.  I used to pretend that I was looking for treasure or that I was invisible to all around me.  I could hold my breath a long time in that ethereal place.

Morning has now become my other world, especially in the summer.  The sounds of the earth coming alive as the sun reaches its rays above the horizon – the morning doves cooing, the soothing of the occasional cricket rubbing his clicking legs together, the breeze in the top of the trees – these are all sounds of God speaking.  Light and warmth join together to gloriously meet the day. I love to rise early and soak up every minute of summer.

Winter is not my friend.  I struggled through the last seemingly endless Iowa winter that brought the last snowfall on May 6.  Darkness brings low feelings, sluggishness, and having to bundle up in layers becomes a burden.  In the deep of winter, the sun seems to barely skim the horizon for 7 hours and the clouds hover for days on end.  Ah, but the summer brings daylight from 5 am to 10 pm, flowers spill over every patio and sidewalk, and the air is sometimes so balmly that we do not need air conditioning.  I absorb every minute to help me thrive better in the winter months.

The Word of God, the Bible, soaks into us like the beauty of summer.  When we read, study, and memorize the Scriptures in the Old and New Testament, we are rooting and establishing ourselves, saving up for those days when hardship and trial seem endless, when the only light is a skim across the horizon.  We need different levels of study, too.  Daily reading the Bible and praying is a wonderful discipline.  But deeper study of the Word and fellowship with other believers in a small group is essential to establish your faith in a different way.

God didn’t intend us to enter into a relationship with Him in order for us to live it without Him.  Studying the Bible, its original language, the cultural significances, brings that relationship alive, because the Word of God itself is living.  God always has a purpose for it in our lives, and that purpose never returns empty.

If you aren’t already in a Bible study, I encourage you to seek one out.  Reading, discussing, studying with others will continue to build you up and establish you in your faith.  And when “winter” comes, you’ll have the Son to light your soul and keep you warm.


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