Over the past several months, God has been making me more aware of the spiritual battles that Christians face. Ephesians 6:11-12 says, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (NIV) Tuning in to any newscast or perusing any daily newspaper will confirm that the devil is alive and well on Earth, and that his servants are very busy.
But what I cherish most is my mother’s passion for caring for the poor of our community. For years, Mom made deliveries of food and basic supplies from the food pantry of our church, to indigent families nearby. I have often wondered if the bread, milk and meat she always included were purchased from her own pocket. The deliveries were often made well after dark, sometimes in the dead of winter, in crime-ridden neighborhoods, to families she did not know. But when she received a call from Social Services that a family was in crisis or a father had lost his job, my mom responded.
Having completed the medication prescribed on an earlier doctor’s visit, and feeling very little relief, I called his office and was told they would “work me in” that afternoon. Wisely, I took along a book: Liz Cutis Higgs’ 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path. The focus of the chapter was Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” While reading Liz’s comments on this verse, I had to confess that my heart was anything but cheerful. Twenty-one days of illness had worn down my body as well as my spirit.
Somehow the gardening gene seems to have escaped my genetic code. The most prevalent things in my flower beds are usually weeds. I have planted some lovely perennials, and sometimes they actually bloom. I can water and feed the plants, and pull weeds until my hands ache and my fingers crack, but with every rainfall the weeds are right back, taller and more abundant than the week before. They have no vision for the beauty the garden could offer. They follow no plan, but take root in the smallest sidewalk cracks and take over any tiny spot of soil they can find.
Recently I attempted to complete a simple puzzle with my grandson Kaleb, who is three. In my way of thinking, the way the twenty-four pieces were cut gave little clue as to where they should be placed. I studied an oddly-shaped piece with blue, black, and a splash of orange in the corner, wondering what it was and where it should go.
No record of my family history – nor yours — is required. We just accept God’s gift by faith in His Son Jesus, and we enter into the joy of serving Him.