It is a glorious day here in Tennessee. Jeremiah has been happily playing with G.I. Joes all morning up in the clubhouse of our playset and I stopped gardening for a moment to take him a smoothie and just hang out. I climbed up to hand him his drink to find him surrounded by naked G.I. Joes.
“Poor G.I. Joes,” I said. “Why are they all naked?”
“I like ’em naked,” he replied with a mischievous grin.
“It just looks…I don’t know, wrong,” I said.
His little forehead creased in that serious, pouty frown that melts my heart and he said, “I’m just playing.”
“Okay, okay….don’t get sad. It is no big deal,” I replied.
I took one more disturbed glance at the pile of naked Joes and returned to my garden. I love to work in the garden and have been quite obsessed with it lately. I haven’t been to the gym in two weeks and I am sure my gym buddies think I’m dead. It is just way more fun to dig in the dirt than spend an hour on a spin bike.
For me, my garden is a sanctuary. It is where I commune with God.
Today I have been talking to Him about an old house I’ve fallen in love with and whether or not He wants to plant our family there. Woven into this ongoing conversation between my Maker and I are the concepts of what it means for God to be “gracious” as opposed to “generous”.
Of course, God is generous. Scripture tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17). Most importantly, He gave us His Son and in that Son, eternal life (John 3:16), but I am not shallow enough to believe He is absolutely, without a doubt going to give me that house simply because He is generous. I just can’t talk myself into that one, not when there are orphans in the Sudan sleeping, and dying, in the bush at night.
At the same time though, I want to demolish all those old lies that I believed way too long that speak negatively about the nature of God. I want to fully embrace with every fiber of my being the truth that He is good and loving and that He delights in me. So, I went on a Scripture treasure hunt and found only once when God actually used the word “generous” to describe Himself. It was in a parable in Matthew 20:15.
Now, the word “gracious” is a different story. God uses that word to describe Himself quite a lot. The first instance I found was in Exodus 22:27.
“And it will be that when he cries to me I will hear, for I am gracious.” Ex. 22:27
The Hebrew word here is “hanan” and it means to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior, to favor.
Guess what? I don’t have to look very far to find evidence of God’s graciousness to me; it rains down on me every day of my life. It is there in the flowers in my back yard, and the husband who reaches out to hold my hand in his sleep at night. It is there in the hugs and kisses from my babies which rain down on me in abundance. It is there in the Word of God that offers me hope, encouragement, comfort and guidance. It is there in the continual presence of the Holy Spirit as He walks along beside me on my way. It is there in good friends who laugh and cry with me.
Who knows? Someday it may even be in that old house that drifts in and out of my dreams, but even if it is not…
It is there in the little boy playing with naked G.I. Joes in the backyard of this one.
Everyday Miracles all around….
Soon, I will begin sharing Everyday Miracles people have sent me from all walks of life. This week, the posts will be thin because I am busily at work with the first photo shoot for the illustrations for the children’s book I wrote based on my article in the November 2006 of www.rainbowkids.com I’m really excited about the project and will let you know when it is finished.
*Do you have an Everyday Miracle you want to share? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org