Near where I live there is an area of woodland, that’s largely unspoilt, and neglected, at least until tree cutting back and thinning has to take place. It’s mostly deciduous with some mature members surrounded by growths of new saplings. Recently the local council upgraded some of the paths and made it more accessible to the locals like me. A real blessing!
Every morning early I try and have a two mile walk through the wood, engaging with God in prayer for the issues that are topical at the time. But also thanking Him for the wonders of His creation. This morning a very small bird, a wren I think, flew across my path and landed on a branch close by, looking at me suspiciously. And a butterfly, a Red Admiral, flitted amongst the wild flowers. And I thought again this morning, how can anyone believe that this happened by chance. That a series of chemical reactions could have conspired to produce such wonders. I don’t have enough faith to believe that, but I do have the faith, the certainty, the assurance that there is a master Creator behind it all. And then I thought about how this is a creation blighted by sin. Where God’s wonderful design has become corrupted by the enemy’s schemes. It must have broken His heart.
Just off the path there is a bed of nettles. They are particularly vigorous at this time of year, which is bad news if you unwittingly stumble into them. They are what I call the thugs of plant life. Unfriendly, arrogant, self-centred, decidedly unpleasant to be around. But located in the middle of this patch is a clump of bluebells. And what a contrast – they are beautiful to look at, with a vivid blue hue, delicate bells hanging in a fragile humility, gently swaying in the breeze, just getting on with their purpose in life.
In another place on my walk there are the remains of an old railway platform, crumbling away into obscurity, the remains of an industrial period in the West of Fife, when coal was an important part of the local economy. And growing on what’s left of the platform, in-between some young trees, there are some wild strawberries. I’ve no idea how they found their way there, probably through seeds carried there by birds or the wind, but a growing colony has been established. And like the bluebells, they are getting on with their purpose in life, producing fruit in its season, after which they will die down and wait for another spring to fire them up into fruitfulness once again. Both the bluebells and the strawberries, the wren and the butterfly, are secure in their role within God’s plan for them. They may have aggressive plants growing next to them or predators that want to eat them, but while they can, they do what they do best – being bluebells, or wild strawberries, wrens or butterflies.
One of my favourite passages of Scripture is Psalm 139. The first six verses are:
O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
Apart from the wonderful knowledge that wherever or whatever we are in life, God is with us and we cannot escape from His presence. And He knows our thoughts, our struggles, our moods, what we are going to say. In fact there is nothing about us that He doesn’t know about. He even has the hairs of our heads counted. We might feel that life has dealt us a poor hand. We might have made many mistakes, made wrong choices, wish we lived somewhere else, or had better neighbours. We might wish we had done better at school, or married someone different. But we are where we are and we can be secure in the knowledge that God is here with us. He is the God of the second chance. The third chance. The umpteenth chance. While we stay close to Him, we will know His presence. How do I know? Because He says so – read the verses again.
But it’s verse five that drives me to my knees. Every step I take, He’s right there going before me. And just in case I weary of the journey, He’s right there behind me, gently urging me on. The NIV translation says He hems me in. But here’s the thing, He places His hand on my head, bringing all the blessings I’m willing to accept. How do we miss that, when we feel miserable, or depressed? When we think we are unworthy, just rubbish, in a pointless existence? But that’s not how God sees us.
The bluebells, the wild strawberries, the wren, the butterfly – they are all secure in their existence, doing what God has ordained for them. And in the process they bring blessings to those around them.
So as we reflect on this Psalm, we can be secure in the knowledge that our loving heavenly Father is right there beside us, helping and encouraging us. Our neighbours, like the nettles, may be anti-social and aggressive. But like the bluebells, He helps us to shine with His presence amongst the difficulties of life. We might be feeling down and depressed, but just pause a minute – is that His hand I can feel gently touching my head? It’s definitely there – His Word says it is. Watch out – there’s a blessing coming!
2 thoughts on “There’s a Blessing Coming”
I love the God of the second chance. I think of the song: O Lord you never give up,you never give up on me.
A beautiful reminder thank you.kay