• Ed Hlad

How Do You Spell Relief?

I have been thinking about the fall ministries at church. It is hard to believe that this virus is still effecting so much of what we are trying to do and plan. On my day off I tried to put these thoughts aside for a while and go with my wife to try and find a dress for an event we are planning. My prayer, actually my fervent prayer, was that God would bless and that we would find the right dress in the first place. I was so excited when my wife pulled 4 or 5 dresses that she thought would the very first place we walked into! I just knew that I was witnessing a miracle as this was all done in the first twenty minutes of shopping. All we needed was for one dress to look and fit in such a way that she was comfortable. As we headed to the dressing room, I was praying. But, because of the virus, the dressing rooms were closed. The store policy was that you buy all the dresses you like, and then, before 14 days, you return the ones you did not like. Why Lord? We were so close. The story gets worse but you will have to ask Nancy about it. All I will say is that it involved three more stores, back to the original store, coming home, going back, and a mall bathroom. It is now officially a cuss word...Corona! By the way, the next store was Home Goods and I got reprimanded for walking the wrong way on a one-way aisle, had to zig-zag up and down 8 aisles to get to the other side of the store, only to find out it was not the side I wanted to be on. Corona! I need a break.

All that zig-zagging got me thinking. In the woods, God’s great creation, there are a million different paths and you always end up on the right side. There really is no wrong side when you wander in the woods. That led to more fun thinking. God, in His wisdom, made deer for those who like a challenge in getting their meat. He made cows and pigs for those who don’t like to chase things. I guess chickens are for those who are kind of in the middle. You have to chase them, but not too far.

Think of how convenient it is that trees are made of wood. They give shade but are easily cut down to make shelters, provide firewood to cook your meat (whether you chase it or not), and they provide oxygen to breathe. If trees were made of stone or metal, think of all the problems that would bring. That got me thinking of otherwise and noble things.

Was there wild corn at one time? Did the settlers come and find a field of wild corn growing in the prairies? How convenient are fields? Just mow and plant. If you want more of a challenge you could go out west and clear the prairies. Tons of rocks but what a sense of accomplishment when you are done. I guess if you really wanted a challenge you could go into the mountains and figure out how to grow crops on the side of the mountain. How much would you appreciate eating the bread made from that wheat?

Did you know that if you go out west you can still see the wagon wheel tracks that the settler’s made? They seem so lonely as the tumbleweed drifts over them. That got me thinking about how God made animals for that rugged terrain. He provides food everywhere for men to be able to live everywhere. Buffaloes are fast, strong, and hard to catch but God made them stand in herds to make it possible to catch them. The fact that God even made the rocks different colors is a testament to his beauty and creativity.

I love to fish. My dream would be to catch a big marlin one day (without getting so seasick that I want to die). But I was moved as I saw three pictures of different grandchildren holding up a little Bluegill or Sunny. How loving it was for our Heavenly Father to provide such a small, aggressive fish, that is so abundant and easy to catch so that our children and grandchildren can know the experience of catching their own food or seeing his creation. I know that was a run-on sentence but God has so thoroughly thought of everything that it is just amazing and it causes us to ramble.

For me, if I spend my whole day planning what I desire in the future, or spend my day in man-made structures, I begin to get frustrated by all of the limitations and issues. I need to take notice of just how amazing the gifts of God are around me. Paul tells me to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 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 surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” When I see the amazing gifts, the variety, and the planning of God around me, I am reminded that God is at hand. God is always near. For me, I am not reminded of that in the stores that I must frequent at times, I am not reminded of that in the plans I am trying to force, but I am reminded of that when I take time to notice his handiwork.

Plus, when I am thinking about how great a gift wind is, I am not thinking about Corona!

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