- the more cat litter you put in the box, the more frequently it has to be changed?
- small creatures like spiders are more menacing than big creatures?
- flowers go to sleep at night, waking sturdy and bright the next day?
- the more money you make, the more you need more?
- the minute you get on the phone, the baby wakes up?
We take notice of things all the time. And sometimes, what we notice isn't all that great. Our spouse doesn't love us the way he should. The boss is piling on too much work. The new choral director has no taste in music. The government is a mess. NOTHING is working as it should!
Sometimes instead of minor irritants we can have major difficulties. The director's taste in music isn't an issue, our survival is. The spouse isn't irritating, he's leaving. We've been laid off. Our adult child isn't speaking to us, and we don't know why. Or maybe Mom has moved in and requires a lot of care.
Eventually, these good hard knocks "upside the head" can lead to bitterness, depression, anxiety. Maybe we are entrenched in substance abuse, or we are feeling just plain hopeless. Life is too hard, and we can't go on for another minute.
Well, God notices things too:
And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them. (Exodus 2:24-25)
In the same way, when we are in dire straits and reach out to Him, God notices. He hears the wordless cries of our souls. At times we cannot pray; God hears our unspoken need. Even the small things that knock us down like ocean waves are not too small for Him. What a marvelous thing, when there are greater tragedies in the world than our own.
To top it all off, He promises that one day, "He will wipe away every tear from our eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)
We can never take this for granted. We notice our blessings, but when the crisis is over, we may think we effected the change. It was our perseverance, our ability. It was the fact that we prayed so hard. Or maybe we used those communication skills from that expensive two-day conference, and POOF! Problem solved! We did it! Horaaaay!
Well, yeah, it's good to recognize our assets and how changed we are, but we must give credit where credit is due! We must notice, no, we must take a good hard look at the fact that it is grace that set us free from our despair.
Being thankful to God, that is a wonderful thing. But, gratitude is SHOWING our thankfulness to God. God gave us the desire to serve and God gave us the strength and ability to do so.
Who knows? We may be God's vehicle to answer someone's prayer! Why? Because you have a gift that you didn't have before. You have experienced the grace and power of the Lord in relieving your distress. And the next time you see your friend, that someone whose prayer you help answer, you may have the words that she needs to hear.
Oh, but speaking of "next," I notice that the next thing on MY list is to change that litter box I mentioned! As Wilfred Brimley would say, "It's the right thing to do." When the cats look at me strangely, it's a sure sign that it's due.
I do wish that those cats would show THEIR gratitude and quit kicking litter onto the floor! Maybe I should put up a notice.
[Jesus said] "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
(Matthew 7:7-8 NIV)