“I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt…I will go with you…” Gen 46:3-4
April showers bring May flowers. Well – actually – our first flowers appeared at the end of April. People down here tell me that was a little late. However, I’ve decided that spring flowers in NC are just as beautiful and wonderful as the spring flowers I left behind in OH. After a long winter (and yes – it was long here as well) their bright colors and sweet fragrance permeate the air, and you just want to spend all your time outside soaking it into the memory banks. This year has probably been a little more special since it is the first one we’ve experienced. Seeing the bushes bloom with color and bees, watching the birds build nests, and establishing our gardens has been a blessing beyond any expectations.
Of course, it isn’t all fun. There are all the changes that the husband and I have been working on implementing…most of them to accommodate 2 trucks, 1 stump grinder, 1 fishing boat, 1 motorcycle, 1 scooter, 1 four wheeler (which the dogs love more than anything), 2 kayaks, and 1 aging Murano named “Adam”. Adam is, of course, is not so lonely now and much happier to share his one-car driveway as he did in OH, but it is sometimes a an interesting journey to back down the driveway to the cul-de-sac on which we live. However, that is what stewardship is all about…sharing in the act of creation with what Our Father has given us.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am Your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Is 41:12
Do you notice how often God or His angels or His Son say – “Be not afraid…do not be afraid…do not fear”. I read somewhere that phrase was one of the most oft repeated set of words in the whole Bible. They are also almost always followed by the simpler words – “I am with you…I will go with you…I am with you ALWAYS…”
Walking a new path is always difficult. Leaving a home that you built from scratch inside and out to come to a strange land and start all over is rather…hmmmmmm….crazy??? In any case, here we are – building new fences – hauling load after load of mulch and gravel, sinking stones into the red clay for walking paths or interesting designs – painting rooms – transplanting and planting new bushes, flowers and veggies – and thanking God every morning and every night for His promises to be with us.
There was a Rabbi named Akiva. He was not a very learned man and did not pay much attention to his faith until he was 40. It was during this year that he happened to pass a well and noticed a rock with a hole carved in it. He inquired who had shaped such a wonderful rock and was told that the dripping water from the well had, over the years, worn away the rock until it looked the way it did. That is when His life changed. He reasoned that if water could wear away the hardness of stone, than surely the Torah could penetrate any hardness within his own heart, and God would fill that hole with love.
I thought about this story today as I watched it rain all afternoon (3 1/2 in). Some of the mulch washed down the hill. The red clay softened as it soaked up the wetness coming from the sky. Small gullies appeared in the garden. If I remember correctly, in Jewish tradition, water is often a metaphor for the WORD. Is it any wonder that softness overcomes hardness? Love overcomes hate? It was His message throughout His three year ministry. All we have to do is watch the rain..be it in April or May or any other month…and remember: Love in all things – for God is walking beside us…softening the ground, carving out a space for His love to bloom into gorgeous bouquets and plentiful food for all His creation.
Baruch Ashem, Adonai. Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is One.