Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Leaving Blessings Behind Him

Amy and I wandered along the Chenango River while the folks cleaned up at Cash Bingo. (The other residents complained to us that my parents always win. Dad goes early to pick just the right cards.) Amy stopped often to take photos of interesting things, and at one point, spied a sumac with its big red plumes.

She carefully tilted her camera up to frame the sumac against the blue sky when she said, "Look! An eagle!"

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know I am on a continual quest to spot a bald eagle. I quickly followed her finger.

"It is! It is!" I jumped up and down, clapping my hands with joy.

The eagle made a big arc above us, giving us a full minute to gaze upon his windswept wings, gleaming white head, and graceful soar. We watched him in awestruck wonder. Finally, he dipped behind the mountain, with the setting sun.

When we returned to the Assisted Living Center, my parents had not yet concluded their unparalleled sweep of the Bingo fortune. Amy and I sat in the lovely sunroom, and looked out over the nearby lake. Suddenly, an ultralite airplane appeared in the sky, with its tell-tale wasp thin shaft connecting the front to the tail.
"Look!" I cried, "An ultralite!"
We wished we had time to get Dad, because we knew he would have loved to see it. Amy did take a picture of this airborne wonder. Unlike the eagle, it was close enough to discern in a photo.

Now filled with the joy of two wonders in succession, we started down the hall to my parent's apartment. As we passed the elevator, a resident smiled and greeted us. She held a book in her hands.
"Did you see the book she had?" Amy asked.
"It was your book...I'm Listening with a Broken Ear."
Wow. I felt like a celebrity. My first book in the hands of the aged resident of my folk's Home.

What a blessed day! Three wonders in a row!

My brother told me statistics tend to cluster. Chance events occur in groups. No one really knows why, but it is scientific fact. Thus, the old adage that bad things happen in threes has some basis in reality.

Good things happen in threes too! Knowing that this phenomenon occurs, maybe we should actively and continually seek to turn the tide. Circumvent the bad by intentionally inserting the good. This is Biblical advice. God, who is outside of time and space, and knows the End before it has begun still commands us to pray for all things without ceasing.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:5

C.S. Lewis says when we pray about today, God is perfectly able to alter yesterday. This thought can be captured in the verse from Joel 2: 25:
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you.

Blaise Pascal, the great mathematician said God “instituted prayer in order to allow His creatures the dignity of causality.”

Both Lewis and Pascal insisted that God must be a rational being of logic and order. Since He commands us to pray, to petition the Lord, it must have a purpose beyond relationship and communication. To ask us to pray knowing He would not ever alter events in response would be cruel. We know God is good, thus prayer has to be efficacious, or we wouldn't be asked to pray.

Perhaps we can change that statistical tendency for bad things to cluster through prayer. Whether we can or not, the best thing that happens in threes is the nature of God Himself. He is our Father, the Creator, Jesus, the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, the Counselor.

He knows whether we will turn to Him or not. He sees the future, but He also reminds us that He will listen and respond to our entreaties, as any good father responds to his beloved child. While I had not at that moment been praying for the eagle, it had been a prayer for many years. Every time I see one, God reveals a piece of His magnanimous nature.

"See, beloved one, I know the desires of your heart. You asked for the eagle long ago, but I sent it now at a time when it would remind you in the midst of the setting sun that I can." 

He can alter our world in the midst of bad, and cluster the good around our hearts.


Joel 2: 12-14

      “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
            “Return to Me with all your heart,
            And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
      And rend your heart and not your garments.”
            Now return to the LORD your God,
            For He is gracious and compassionate,
            Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
            And relenting of evil.
      Who knows whether He will not turn and relent
            And leave a blessing behind Him

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