Alexandra the Great's Private Papers

September 11, 2007

Toadstools

Filed under: God's Help,Living — Alexandra The Great @ 6:44 pm

Have you ever noticed how toadstools seem to spring up overnight?  One day the newly mown law looks almost perfect and the very next day its appearance is marred by brown growths.

Just today my daughter pointed out to me a colony of toadstools growing in our front lawn.  I hadn’t noticed them before, but that is no proof they hadn’t been there for a few days.  Looking at the intruders made me think of the unseemly things that spring up in our lives when we’re not looking; things that grow best in the dark, out of view, out of the sunlight.  Things like envy and resentment that start out small, but if allowed to grow will eat away at our soul and destroy our health.  In the same way that toadstools look like edible mushrooms, some things look healthy but hold a secret poison.  I’m thinking of pride, the very thing we’re told we must possess, yet the biggest barrier to experiencing the presence of God.  Does He not oppose the proud but give grace to the humble?

It takes a lot of diligence to keep a lawn free of dandelions and toadstools, but it is something we have to do if our lawns are to be healthy and presentable.  It takes even more work to keep our lives free of such toadstools as pride and the love of money.  Yet without diligence and great care our lives will easily and quickly be overrun by such things because they come so very naturally.   

But how are we to see clearly what’s growing our lives?  How are we to know a blemish from an adornment?  The only honest mirror we can turn to is the Word of God.  Any mirror of our own making will only deceive us because we will see ourselves as we want to, not as we really are.  Do we want the exposure?  The conviction?  Are we willing to part with our toadstools?  Are we willing to entrust ourselves to the Master Gardener?  He will cultivate better things in us than destructive fungi and weeds.  He said he would.

August 31, 2007

Building a Freeway

Filed under: God's Help — Alexandra The Great @ 2:33 pm

I recently made a 4AM drive to deliver my husband at the local airport.  We joked and complained along the way about a several mile stretch of freeway that is under construction and has been for quite some time now.  We wondered just what, apart from cement barriers, qualified this area as a construction zone if construction never, or seldom (to be generous), happens there.  We did happen see two workers along this stretch, but we didn’t actually see them doing anything.  We assumed they were construction workers by the evidence of their hard hats, but they weren’t working, and they certainly weren’t constructing.  We imagined that they were the only two who showed up for work every day, and overwhelmed by the prospect of building a freeway lane on their own, sat in their truck bewildered until lunch break, only to call it a day when their lunchboxes were empty.  We imagined also that these two were the only state highway employees who missed the memo that all Caltrans workers were excused from duty for a paid summer holiday.

I suppose it is characteristic of man’s sinful nature that the failures of others can loom large in our minds while our own shortcomings are easily dismissed.  Musing over the freeway frustration later, I recognized in myself the symptoms of hypocrisy.  I found it very easy to criticize the failings of the state (all too easy to recognize and they really do need to finish the thing), while being forgetful of my own failings.  How many New Year’s resolutions have survived beyond the new year? How many books were never finished?  And my biggest question, Why can’t I finish wallpapering the bathroom?! 

The good news for those of us who in ourselves sometimes have difficulty in seeing a thing through, is that with God there is hope.  We don’t have to build freeways on our own.  We may be limited, but he is limitless and his word tells us that he is able to fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power (2 Thessalonians 1:12). God can help even with the ordinary things such as wallpapering bathrooms, building ponds, and reading books if we include him in the project.  Now to find my resolve….  I suppose I’m going to need his help with that one too.

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