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There are some patchy spots in my back yard I’m working on to grow¬† grass. I want to have a nice, lush yard for my kids to play in and, not to mention, my OCD nature can’t stand having some “dirt” patches while the rest of the yard is green. A few of these spots were very hard, and as a result I had to do some aerating. I purchased a “poker” rake, whatever you want to call it, which I can row back and forth and break up the ground. After planting, I have to continuously water and tend the area in order for the grass to grow. And the most important thing…I have to wait.

I’m reminded that growth takes place over time in our soul as much as in nature. I tend to get in a rush. Do you? I want to know everything that I will know at the end of my life, now! I want to have all the understanding about God, life, nature, relationships, etc, that I’ll have at the end of my life, now! Not that I will have all these things in incredible amounts far in the future, but if I’m the same person 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, from now that I am today…then something is certainly wrong with my growth as a follower of Jesus.

Patience is something I struggle with to a great extent. I even have difficulty reading books at times because I usually feel the author can sum up the important things they need to say in about one or two chapters. “Just hurry up and get to the bottom line!” I sometimes wish I could just touch a book and absolve all its knowledge so that I won’t waste time reading it and can move on to something else. Crazy isn’t it? I act this way in the develop of my soul (life, emotions, character, intellect, etc) on a continual basis without even realizing it. Until I plant grass seed and wait for it to germinate. Then all the thoughts of impatience in my life flood into the forefront of my mind.

I think God had/has great wisdom by making us wait for the “good” things of life. There is a reason why old men are considered “wise” while young men are considered “rash.” There’s a reason why the best wine takes time to ferment. There’s a reason why character is produced out of hardship and time and not simply by wishing for it overnight. If we always got, even the things that will be ultimately good in our life (character, wisdom, etc) all at once when we wanted it – wouldn’t that produce the opposite of what we asked for? It would, first, create an attitude of entitlement and selfishness. But secondly, unless we took the necessary steps to gain these characteristics in our lives, we really wouldn’t even know what we had, would we? And isn’t the “journey” the best part about getting to a destination? The road-trip is just as fun as the arrival. Perhaps God makes us wait because He wants life to be full of drama and excitement and anticipation of things to come. As long as we’re on the right track, the journey really is the destination!

But that journey isn’t always easy is it? We have to cultivate our souls and break up the hard areas of our life if we want to see growth. We have to make ourselves vulnerable; we have to make ourselves open. We have to be willing to till up the areas that don’t allow the seeds of wisdom, knowledge, discernment, confidence, faithfulness, self-control and the like, to take root. And yet, for all the work it takes, at the end of the gestation period, our labor has produced the very things we desired in the first place.

So enjoy studying. Enjoy reading. Enjoy learning. Enjoy praying. Enjoy seeking. Enjoy the process. Enjoy trials that produce character. Enjoy struggles that bring about strength. Enjoy the steps it takes to grow. Enjoy……waiting for the grass to grow.

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I’m not someone who trumpets “experience” as the best way to gain knowledge of God. “Experience” is subjective to a great extent and what you experience with/about God may be somewhat different than someone else simply because we are different people. I find it quite fascinating that God interacts with the personalities of His people in so many different ways. But what is a more reliable foundation that everyone can agree upon? I believe that study of both scripture (special revelation of God) and nature (general revelation of God) is the best way to gain such knowledge. “Experience” can confirm that knowledge, but scripture and nature are two foundational ways that God reveals knowledge of Himself and provides wisdom to searching hearts. We see this played out in Proverbs over and over (i.e. Prov. 6:6).

I think this is why I love being out in nature so often. Because I believe God formed everything in nature, I also believe that as we study nature it is inevitable that we will find evidence of God’s existence. By studying the Laws of Physics, thermodynamics, cosmology, biology, chemistry, astronomy, etc – we gain knowledge of God and who He is. As we gain knowledge of God, our confidence, our trust (our faith?) grow stronger in Him. These disciplines, however, are greatly neglected by most christians. Putting the study of these disciplines off as “I don’t have time for those things.” Really?

I watched a program on the Smithsonian Channel the other day that talked about how stars explode. That’s it! The entire, 1-hour show was astronomers, cosmologists and a host of other scientists talking about the intricacies of how stars explode. Do you know how vital super-novas are for our universe? God said to Adam, “For dust you are, and to dust you will return.” Quite literally, the elements that are found on earth all the way down to the core, to the very iron in our blood, to the gold found in the earth’s crust – every element that we know to exist (which make up our bodies as well) come from exploding stars! Literally…star-dust. To hear these men and women talk about the immense bodies of suns and their raw power blew my mind. “Giant” Suns which are, in essence, millions of times larger than our own sun, when they explode, is estimated that they produce more power than a trillion, billion nuclear weapons. Practically unfathomable. And this goes on in our universe all the time!

And then I read about God questioning Job:

“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?…Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand…On what were [the earth’s] footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?…What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places?…Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?…Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?…Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who accuses God answer Him!” -Portions of Job 38, 39 & 40

When I hear incredibly learned people speak about the complexities of the universe and how it works – I’m blown away because I know there is an even more complex, incredibly powerful, immensely personal being (God!) who is behind it all. And yet I know that He takes special interest in MY life and yours! Even down to the very atoms, leptons, protons, electrons and 100+ other subatomic particles that make up matter throughout the universe.

I’m not really sure what the point of this blog is. Perhaps its a challenge to fellow believers. Perhaps if we spent less time wondering who the Bachelor didn’t give a rose to, or when Steve Carrell is leaving the Office, and spent more time reflecting on things that ultimately will increase our knowledge of God and produce true wisdom in our lives…maybe we wouldn’t be so wrapped up in the things of life that distract us from what’s really important. If we’re to be disciples of Jesus, I’m convinced that means being knowledgeable people who are “prepared to give a defense for the hope that we have.” Paul wrote to the Colossians that “In Him were all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”…Jesus…was a smart guy! If He lived today I bet He could take care of the poor while also giving a riveting lecture at any leading liberal university. Could you do that? Could I do that?

Just something to think about as we all strive to impact our culture with the way of Jesus.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my yard lately. The feeling of Spring is coming on fast and I’m trying to get a jump on having a nice backyard for my kids to play in. I have a large oak tree in the backyard. I seem to now have a love/hate relationship with it. In the summer, it’s huge enough to provide shade for the entire patio. It protects and preserves so wonderfully.

However, when the seasons change the mighty oak begins to lose it’s leafs. The leafs cling to it, to life, and yet without enough sunlight they eventually lose all strength and attachment and fall to the ground. This is where my frustration comes from. These leafs have filled my yard. And no amount of raking or mowing is getting rid of them easily.

As I’ve spent time thinking about this situation I’m in with these leafs, I reflect on the wisdom gained from observing nature. I suppose there are relationships, opportunities, purpose, conversations…the list goes on…that throughout life seem to pass from life to leafs. Relationships which had once been rich and vibrant, now clog up the gutters of our life. Opportunities that were never taken seem to cling for but a moment, and then fall to the ground only to find decay. Things in our lives that once provided a sense of purpose or provided protection for our soul or seemed to hold us strong…no longer serve a purpose other than to clog up our lives with deterioration.

In the case of my yard, given enough treatment, mowing and decomposition, the dead leafs will provide fertilization and life to my yard. But that’s not always true with our lives is it? Sometimes we have to get down right honest with ourselves. It takes work to clean up our lives. If we’re not careful we can allow words spoken to us, thoughts that penetrate our reason, doubts that plague our confidence and relationships that need to be turned loose to fill up the yards of our hearts and minds. When unattended and unchecked, these things can stunt the growth and maturity of our lives in which we can find true joy and contentment.

So evaluate your life. What things to do you need to clean up? What thoughts, opportunities, or relationships are clogging up your mind? I’m just throwing this idea out for contemplation…something to think about…life and leafs.

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