18 February, 2008

Sweet Potato Moments

There are moments in the life of a missionary when you miss something specific from another place. It`s natural. A missionary life is a life sacrifice. Even when you enjoy the land where you have "landed", you still miss people and things left behind.

God sees everything. He knows every desire of our heart. And I´m continually and increasingly astounded at the lengths He will go to so that we experience the extravagance of His Father´s heart.  So that we understand that even a silent sigh of longing that isn´t particularly important to us, is an opportunity for Him to show that everything we have given up is counted.  That He not only stores up, but pours out rewards upon us. Some of the more frustrating hardships may take a while to deal with, but there are little blessings along the way.

And so it was that within a couple of weeks of an offhand comment to someone that I had never seen sweet potatoes in this part of Germany and how much I enjoyed them in South Africa, I find myself confronted with a little pile of extravagantly priced, small but perfectly formed sweeet potatoes. I had never seen them in that supermarket before. 

At first, in shock and then secondly scowling at the extravagant price, I was content with the "Well what do you know, sweet potatoes in Germany!". My daughter, who hates sweet potatoes, cried out, "Mummy, get some. You love them!"  She won, of course.  And so did I. I won a new understanding of the Father`s heart.

I hadn´t even asked Him for them. It was just a little wish, deep down inside. A little sigh of longing that wasn`t even particularly important. Just a little sacrifice which I wouldn´t even have listed were someone to ask me what is difficult about moving to Germany.

But God knows our heart. He knows how to spoil us. And I nearly just walked past my treat in wonder. But thankfully I didn`t. Not only does God love us extravagantly, we have to allow Him to do it too.

"O Lord, You have searched me and known me... You understand my thoughts from afar...before I utter a word, You know it completely..." Psalm 139

09 February, 2008

Days of Wisdom

Birthdays when we are young are mostly full of excitement. Suspense and wonder at how the day will be and how it will feel to be a year older fill the lead up to most children`s birthdays with anticipation.

Some of us manage to maintain the joy of birthdays as we get older. Others dread facing one, for one reason or another. Somehow totalling up the years can make us nervous. It can also make us satisfied, when we look back in the right way and look ahead with the right attitude.

I love the way that God looks at our lives. He sees us as individuals. He knows every hair we have on our head. And He counts our days. Every day we live and walk out is written in His book.

That`s why I find Psalm 90 so cool. Verse 12 says: "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."  One of the German translation puts it a little less poetically (thanks Luther) and talks about remembering that we must all die one day. 

Why talk about birthdays and death in one article? Well, a birthday is a celebration of what has been. It is also an anticipation of the great days that are ahead. As Christians we don`t rely on luck or chance to run our days and fill up our years. We know that God is in charge and that we are co-workers with Christ. Together we manage our time. 

Whatever the number of days or years we live, we want to live by God`s principles, close to Him and growing a heart of wisdom for ourselves, our lives and the lives of those around us.

I pray that my days and your days would be lived as days of wisdom. Wisdom to recognise the times and seasons. When to rest and when to play. When to reach out and when to be still. Wisdom that helps us to number our days.