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Posts Tagged ‘taking things for granted’

Jo 12I love my old car. It is a 1999 model Ford Fairmont that has done quite a few kilometres—over 255,000 in fact! No doubt it chews up more petrol than a small, newer car would—but it requires only a gentle touch on the steering wheel to point it where I want to go and it still soars up those hills like a bird.

Sadly, however, little things have begun to go wrong with it. The numbers and symbols on the dashboard telling me what setting the air-con is on stopped working a while back. The remote unlocks the boot, but refuses to either lock or unlock the car itself. And (ahem) certain parts of the car do not lock properly at all anymore! I can live with all that, but I found it hard on a long trip recently when my poor old car refused to warm up inside at all, so that I arrived at my speaking engagement in a slightly frozen state!

As I drove home afterwards, I suspect it was God who reminded me how, back when our children were young, we had no car air-conditioning at all and no fancy numbers and symbols on the dashboard. To cool ourselves, we wound the windows down. To warm up, we wore jumpers. And we certainly didn’t own a remote to lock and unlock the car. Yet now I took for granted and felt entitled to a car that could deliver so much more.

Then it dawned on me to wonder whether God was also pointing out other things I had taken for granted that day—like the fact that I had been invited to speak somewhere at all; or the fact that I was able to drive myself there—and through such beautiful countryside; or the fact that my ability to speak and to thoroughly enjoy doing so comes from God anyway. How grateful I needed to be for all these things—and so very much more!

But then I started to ask myself some even more serious questions. What if I had I begun to take God for granted in my life in general? Had I come to presume too much on God’s grace and patience and long-suffering towards me each day? Was I treating God in too cavalier a fashion, listening only when I felt I needed to, instead of staying in that place of intimacy? Had I forgotten how much I need to thank God for the many blessings poured out on me in all sorts of ways over the years?

I think I need to remember well that recent cold drive to my speaking engagement. I don’t want to take anything in my life for granted, but instead thank God each day with a grateful heart for all I have been given.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100

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One morning recently, I turned on my computer and noticed someone had left a Skype message for me. I proceeded to investigate and, as I had suspected it might be, it was my friend who lives on the other side of the world, sending me a chirpy, little message.

Hi!  You’re on the computer nice and early in the morning!  I haven’t even gone to bed yet on the day before!

We then proceeded to have a brief, written ‘chat’ before she closed down for the night.

Not long after, I received an email from another friend who I knew was currently overseas. She was emailing from Dubai Airport via her Ipad in the middle of an eighteen hour wait for her flight home! Her travel plans had been disrupted because of the extreme winter weather in Europe. But on top of that, she felt distinctly fluey and was asking us to pray she would be okay during the rest of her waiting period and then on the flight home.

Later that day, I began to realise how readily I had taken for granted the fact that these two friends could contact me so easily. Yet how amazing that someone on the other side of the world would notice me online and be able to say a quick hi! And how amazing my friend could immediately gather together the prayer support she needed as she sat in a strange airport!

A few days ago, I opened my computer to find that a reader had contacted me via my website to say she had just re-read my first four novels and enjoyed them so much yet again. She had written especially to encourage me. Yet I did not stop to enjoy the moment, take in her words fully and thank God for them. Then I noticed someone had sent me a message via Facebook, telling me how she had given some copies of my non-fiction book Soul Friend away at Christmas and how one girl she mentors had devoured the book and gained so much from it. ‘Oh, that’s nice!’, I thought to myself—and went blithely on with whatever I was doing.

But then that voice inside me pulled me up short. Here I was, taking for granted these lovely messages from my readers. Here was I, so full of my own concerns, almost missing the gentle ways God was using others to encourage me in my writing journey.

Have you been so wrapped up lately in all the big and urgent issues of life that you have almost ignored that prompting inside you, urging you to stop and enjoy the moment, to be thankful for the blessings right before your eyes that you take for granted? Could God be trying to get your attention, too?

This week, I read a familiar verse, Psalm 46:10, that I am sure was another little prompt from God:

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

I don’t want to take God for granted. Each day, I want to be still and acknowledge God’s greatness, tuning my ears in more and more readily to the Holy Spirit’s voice and seeing God’s hand in every part of my life.

How about you? Stop for a moment. Look around you. Listen for God’s gentle whisper. Be still, and know that God is there.

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