...several years ago, and it greatly shapes my thinking on God's blessing in the midst of pain. It goes like this…
A monk went for a walk in the desert one day. Behind him he heard noises in the brush and out stalked a hungry-looking mountain lion. It began to chase him up the path leading from the desert floor.
When he came to a curve in the path, the monk stumbled and slid off the edge of a cliff. Grasping for something to stop his fall, he found a small limb jutting out from the jagged cliff face. The mountain lion assumed a menacing stance, offering death from above. The desert floor, hundreds of feet beneath him, offered death from below.
At that very moment, on the end of his branch, the monk noticed a luscious, ripe strawberry. He picked it, stared inquisitively, then popped it into his mouth, smiled with satisfaction…and fell to his death.
The application is obvious…even in life's most difficult times God might offer us a little blessing. We should receive it for what it is worth, and then move on with whatever trying circumstance we face. So often, when we are in the midst of a crisis, our eyes are shut to even the slightest possibility of a blessing… sometimes even to the extent of subconsciously lengthening the trial longer than required. But this flies in the face of scripture:
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Take this principle to heart when you find yourself in the middle of a struggle (be it big or small). Look for your strawberry! Look for God moving to bless you! You might find that a little blessing in the midst of a big life trial turns your whole mindset around.
Last month we took a little time away from the craziness of the regular Buck routine. We piled into our minivan and put 4,200 miles on it. We drove to the Grand Canyon and back, hitting spots like Route 66, Four Corners, Mesa Verde, Horse Shoe Bend, and Monument Valley. In those very different settings, our kids amazed us with their growing maturity. For the most part, they treated each other with patience and respect, and they handled all the time in the car like champs. And I even caught Noah (our 15-year-old son with mild Autism) flirting in the hotel pool! It was the classic American road trip, and Shelly and I felt blessed to be able to get away and experience a big chunk of our country with our family.
Meanwhile, we have been busy meeting with churches, trying to find out how we can best serve them. Two weeks ago, we started preaching through a sermon series called "Parenting through the Proverbs: from Solomon to Seuss." This sermon series lasts four more weeks. Join us to hear more at Living Water Church in Tallmadge, MI.
We also have a couple of exciting speaking engagements coming up, so be on the look out for updates on Facebook or on our website. Our ministry has been successful for the past three years because of your continual prayer and financial giving (here is the link to our support page).
Grace & Peace,
Josh and Shelly