Yesterday I went outside to do some yard work. I was feeling this hormonal funk that I’ve been having lately, and thought being outdoors would help me. As I worked on trimming the hedges, I tried to be in a better mood. But I kept seeing all the things that needed to be done — the dirty front columns with their chipped paint, the place a dog had dug through the wood chips.
Then my neighbor stopped and rolled down her window as she drove by. “Your yard looks so nice,” she told me. I wanted to tell her how much there was to be done, but I thanked her instead. It was a good reminder that I was looking at the wrong things.
I do have a nice yard. And as I continued working, I was able to look a the small things — the fall wind gently blowing under an overcast sky, the white camellias starting to bloom. And I thought how all of these things were a reflection of the goodness of God. Throughout my day of emotional yuckiness there were things all around me, morsels of God’s goodness, that I could fill up on.
I thought of the never ending abundance of God, and it was a comfort. Although I want to feel like things are failing, this never describes God. “His compassions never fail.” (Lam 3:22) “Love never fails.” (I Cor 13:8)
I thought of this verse: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Ps 27:13
Every day, I SEE the goodness of the Lord. It is something I can bank on. It will ALWAYS be there.
As I prayed while I jogged this morning I just thanked God. Sometimes I think we need to keep thanking God until our tank is full. We don’t need to move onto petitioning until we feel our heart change, and peace and joy settle into us. Otherwise petitioning can deplete us.
I thanked God for the carpet of beautifully shaped leaves beneath my feet as I ran. I thanked Him as I recalled things that happened yesterday — phone conversations, encouraging words, the heartfelt prayers of a sister. I realized that, despite my leaden perceptions, God does give me many gifts of goodness throughout the day. My downcast heart seems to dominate and define the day. But there are patches of goodness, like tropical islands in a stormy sea.
Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life. Ps 23:6
The goodness of God surrounds me. It is there, hiding in the slate grey rain, the the enthusiastic smile of a friend, the shared laughter, the missive from afar, the opportunity to share good news, the spiritual growth of friend, the words of a loved one. These things are like balm to a fevered body.
A week ago I had the Auburn campus and singles over for lunch following church. After they left, I wanted to feel that strange sense that it somehow hadn’t gone well enough. Then I thought, “My house was FILLED with people I love, people who are happy and laughing. It embodied what is best in the world.”
God gives us the best. It is there for eyes that see, and hands that open to receive it.
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. Ps 31:19