Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


The Glance

Once in awhile, God awakens my thinking through something our dog does. Not all the time. Most of the time I'm wondering why she's chewing on her foot or fearfully backing away from a garbage can. 

A few weeks ago, I snapped off the end of a banana in the kitchen and the sound alerted Yuki to come running. She loves bananas. I cut off a small piece to give her and handed it to her with my left hand. As she reached up to grab it with her mouth, she glanced. Her mouth was chewing on the piece I had given her but her eyes had wandered over to my other hand that was holding the rest of the banana. She glanced.

Eve glanced too. God offered her the perfect life in the garden of Eden but she glanced. "What about that fruit?" Eve wondered. "Can I have it? What you've given me doesn't seem like enough . . . is there more?" 

I glance too.  A pain-free afternoon of gardening is a beautiful small piece of provision and joy . . . and I'm thrilled that the Lord provides those moments for me . . .  and yet, I want more. "Lord, I could get so much done if pain was gone permanently. One afternoon of pain-free living is so small, can I have more? When? Now? Why are you holding back from me? This small piece is not enough."

I glance.

Yuki, our golden-doodle, is driven by smell and taste. It is what moves her from a comfortable couch to a kitchen floor within seconds just in the hope of what she might catch falling from the counter. The only thing that snaps her out of this fixation is discipline. "Yuki, Out!" sends her out of the kitchen and back onto the couch. "Yuki, Out!" is what causes her to drop the begging-stare of watching us eat and go eat her own food. Discipline and training is what keeps "the glance"  in check. 

What about you and I?  What are we glancing at? More money, more holiday time, more summer, more relationships, more opportunities, more, more, more? Are we staring at God's other hand,  begging, asking, staring . . . fixated on the sounds and smells of what we think we need?

Or can we simply accept the moments of provision that He gives us, be grateful for them, and discipline our eyes not to glance for more? Can we seize the moments, enjoy them, be fully engaged, be present in our minds and emotions and not glance at what else God has in his other hand? Can we trust God?

I believe we can. 

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met." Matthew 6:30-33

As September approaches, and we sense the completion of summer and the calendar filling up with schedules again, let's become people who receive from God with thankfulness. What we have for today, for right now, is enough because we can trust God. He is good and He knows what we need.