Reflections on Childlike Trust
Anticipation by Dianne Matthews
I Will Never Leave You by Steve Miller
Discovery Walk by Christine St. Jacques
I Know He Watches by Barbara Croce
About the Art by Jeannie St. John Taylor
By Dianne Matthews
It was my least favorite kind of day—hot, humid, muggy. I dragged myself around town doing errands. Then I saw an unexpected sight. The store’s home decor department had already stocked autumn merchandise. I strolled through the aisles looking at scarecrows, pinecones, miniature bales of hay, and autumn leaves. As I meditated on the sights, sounds, and tastes of my favorite season, I felt a surge of anticipation. My energy revived as if brisk fall breezes were already blowing on my face.
It was the same sense of expectancy I’d felt every year since childhood. My family spent the long Tennessee summers working on our farm. With no close neighbors, my three brothers were my only companions most of the time. The arrival of September brought much more than relief from the hot weather. It meant exchanging work in cotton fields for work at school, which I loved. It meant getting new notebooks and pencils and seeing old friends. It also signaled that Christmas was getting closer.
That night at Bible study we looked at Scriptures about the second coming of Jesus Christ. I realized that my longing for autumn should be a mere shadow of my eagerness for the return of my Savior. Paul expressed what our attitude should be when he wrote “….we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23, NIV). This eagerness is meant to be shared with others. We are instructed to encourage one another with words about our Lord’s return (1 Thess. 4:18).
God wants me to live each day in anticipation of the event that will mean the exchange of my earthly body for a new imperishable one and my removal from a temporary fallen world to an eternal heavenly home. When the heat of summer oppresses me, I can remember that autumn is on the way. When the troubles and sin of this world get me down, I can be sure that it is only for a season, and a better life is coming.
© Dianne Matthews
Dianne Matthews has written numerous devotionals, magazine articles, and newspaper features. Her newest devotional is Drawing Closer to God: 365 Daily Meditations on Questions from Scripture (Baker, 2010). Dianne and her husband, Richard, live in Salt Lake City. They have three grown children and two adorable grandchildren. Her website is http://diannenealmatthews.com.
I Will Never Leave You
by Steve Miller
One day when I was teaching my not quite six-year-old grandson Cannon to ride a bicycle, we went for a ride in the country. As he struggled to get his bike moving, sometimes he headed for a ditch, and fear kept him from steering away. He would crash, drag his bike back to the road, and start again. Then I would encourage him and give him more instruction in the fine art of riding a bicycle.
We headed for an historic park in a little Texas town, and were soon going downhill. Cannon was moving faster than he had ever ridden in his one-week bike-riding career. He was going so fast that I thought he would surely wipe out, but somehow he managed to remain upright.
When we left the park, the ride was all uphill, not much of a hill for me, but for my grandson, it was long and steep. I rode ahead, then turned and watched Cannon straining to pedal. Should I help him? He’s just a little fellow, I thought. No, this is one small hill of many he must climb.
So I stayed away, watching, waiting. He had to feel the burning in his muscles, to sense the want in his soul as he strove to go further than he had gone before. The pain would make him stronger. He had to climb the hill.
I rode a little farther ahead. I could still see Cannon, but a small bush obscured his view of me. Fear seized him in an instant. He abandoned his pedaling and ran wildly uphill, pushing his bike by his side. Tears began to flow. I quickly rode into his view and he continued running towards me.
At first I thought, Why are you afraid? I’m right here and have been the whole time. I felt a bit frustrated and angry that he believed I would ride off without him.
“Did you think I would actually leave you?” I asked.
When he said, “Yes,” I held him close. Looking into his eyes I said, “Cannon, I will never ever, ever leave you. Never. Do you understand? I will never leave you. Never ever.” His face relaxed and his eyes filled with light. Secure in my love, he was ready to race off again.
The words of Hebrews 13:5 came to my mind like wind crossing the Texas landscape. There, sitting on a bicycle, God reminded me that I was not much different from my grandson. Irrational fears control me at times when my body is sick, the future seems bleak, or the hill ahead seems too steep to climb. I cry out to my Creator, “Why have You left me alone? Why don’t You answer when I cry out? Why can’t I feel your presence?” Each time, He patiently tells me not to be afraid. He is there and has been all along.
Just as I came alongside Cannon and encouraged him while he learned to ride the ever changing terrain, God is at work helping me, encouraging me as I navigate life’s many roads on my little training wheeled bicycle. This life will have its ditches, hills, and long black nights, but in the midst of it all, God whispers His assurance that He will never leave. Never ever ever.
“For He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU” (Hebrews 13:5, NASB).
© Steve Miller
Steve Miller is an artist, illustrator, and designer who creates computer-generated graphics and animation for various companies and clients as well as illustrations for publications. You may visit his website at http://www.stevemillerstudios.com.
by Christine St. Jacques
So often we get caught up in the pressing matters of life, missing God’s blessings and the little lessons He is trying to teach us. Go for a walk in your neighborhood or anywhere that is familiar to you. Instead of looking ahead as you usually would, stop every few steps to look down, up, to the sides, or behind you. How many things do you notice that you would usually miss? Walk through your day the same way, watching for the messages and gifts that God has for you.
© Christine St. Jacques
I Know He Watches
by Barbara Croce
“Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all” (Psalm 139:4, NASB).
One winter day during my daily walk, a question haunted me. Had I sufficiently equipped my children to deal with the nasty blows of life? Overwhelmed with concern about their uncertain future, I poured out my heart before the Lord. “God, please help them. I am so afraid for them!” Hot tears flowed down my frozen cheeks.
“Your Word says that You rule over the realm of mankind. You even know when one little sparrow falls from the sky. Could that be true?” A wintry gust pierced through me and I turned my face from its painful force.
I halted. On the pavement lay a dead sparrow, a perfectly formed little sparrow. Surely when that bird fell, the Lord knew that I would turn away from the wind and see it at the exact moment when I needed reassurance of His sovereignty and love.
Hope surged inside my heart. If my God’s kindness reaches as far as giving me a visual sign that He has heard me, then He would surely carry my children through all of the uncertainties of life.
“Thank you, my Lord,” I whispered. “I choose to trust you today.”
Barbara Croce is the author of devotionals and articles that have appeared in Signs of the Times, Penned From the Heart, and Flutters of the Heart, and Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul 2. She was born and raised in Belgium and lives in Pennsylvania where she raised three children with her husband and best friend, Rich.
© Barbara Croce
Roaming the Path
Here are some resources you might enjoy as you continue down the path of childlike wonder and faith:
His Princess: Love Letters from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd is a lovely, pocket-sized volume of affectionate letters from God, the King, to women, His princesses. The pages are illustrated with soft floral photographs and scripture quotations.
In The Mystery of Children: What Our Kids Teach Us About Childlike Faith, Mike Mason explores insights about childlike faith gained through his relationship with his growing daughter. Filled with humorous, familiar, and poignant family scenes, this book inspires and often startles the reader with its honesty.
Songs: “When God Says No” and “Isaac” from Bonnie Keen’s CDs entitled God of Many Chances and Marked for Life, respectively: “When God Says No” is a tenderhearted, hopeful song that expresses trust in God’s love and wisdom in the midst of our disappointments and broken dreams. “Isaac” powerfully expresses total surrender to God’s sovereignty when life requires us to lay down what is most precious to us. Visit Bonnie’s e-store to order (http://www.bonniekeen.com/estore.htm).
About the Art
“Tori” by Jeannie St. John Taylor
“Tori” is a painting about trust. It is a good reminder of Psalms 4:8, which reads, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (NIV). The artist, Jeannie St. John Taylor, is a former teacher with a master’s degree, and lives with her husband on a small beef farm fifteen minutes from downtown Portland. Though she is a professional artist who still sells her large pastel landscapes from a gallery, she has worked full time as an author/ illustrator, crafting books for women and children. She and Ray have three grown children.
Jeannie’s first written and illustrated children’s book Am I Praying? was a finalist for the 2004 Gold Medallion Award. Jeannie illustrated Jeanne Dennis’s book Matt’s Fantastic Electronic Compusonic. You can find Jeannie at http://www.jeanniestjohntaylor.com.
Editor: Jeanne Gowen Dennis
Associate Editor: Sheila Seifert
Assistant Editor: Christine St. Jacques
© Heritage of Truth, LLC
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