Introspective times, these quarantine days.

Earlier, I was walking along the shore of Tampa Bay and one of its seagulls flew up to me and said, “call Ma, call Ma.” Though, on second thought, perhaps it was saying, “caw-maw, caw-maw.” Whichever, he got me thinking. But that wasn’t the start. A few minutes earlier still, a giant poodle and my chocolate lab stood a distance apart, leash-bound, barking to each other, pretty much saying, “Hey you!” “No, hey you!” “No, hey you!” back and forth, though their tails were wagging, so I’m not sure why the raised voices. The late afternoon walk, on the whole, was interesting and beautiful. I had also witnessed an egret who fished in the shallows, two wood ducks that swam around in courtship—as far as I could tell—and a fading, pinkish sunlight that exaggerated everything. 

So like I was saying, the seagull got me thinking: I love nature. Don’t you? Not in and of itself; but for the caregiving that fills and sustains it:

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7-10).

Not just nature’s roads, but all good roads lead to God is what the day was teaching me—rather, that’s what God is revealing to me now as I sit here late, late evening—and His sustaining hand is behind them all (Col 1:16-17). 

Meanwhile, I’m wondering, why don’t I more often apply this same exercise in sanguine observations, as I did during my nature walk today, with other dimensions of my life, focusing on the positives of the people, places, and experiences—anything, really—that God puts in my path? Even in life’s challenging moments, though it’s hard to notice at the time, there is so much good happening around us and through us that all originates in God’s sovereignty and care. How do we miss it? “God causes all things to work together for good,” Romans 8:28 explicitly reminds us—a comfort to know at all times, and indispensable in our trials. So then, why do we, at least I, in the dark of the night, both real and metaphorical, expend so much effort worrying about things beyond my control and anticipating dire outcomes that might never happen? It makes no sense. Then again it does.

By no accident, it seems, on this night I have caught myself, and giving myself a pep talk is what this present road has come to. Fine by me. After all, they say a little perspective goes a long way. (Amen to that; stay positive, self) For “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord make me dwell in safety.” (Wonderful Psalm—4:8; God’s sustaining care at work) They also say, always look for the good.(Yes, that is the best way) And so…

A patch of moonlight hits the wall, reminding me that while nature’s scenes of earth and sky carry on, here in the stillness—but for my typing—another late evening has become the right time for me to say, “Thank You, God, for all life’s roads, including the one that brings me to You in the restful sanctuary of this good night”

I hope this encourages you to thank God tonight for His sustaining care in your life.

Kevin Murray

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