"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, April 12, 2010

Red Healers, Tea Bags and a little Foster

At precisely 5:07 this morning, our sweet little but somewhat overweight red healer, Rusti, started barking. She rarely ever barks -- especially at night! What was so special about this one, for crying out loud? Must have been an armadillo or some other kind of creature invading her space. I lay there for a few moments wishing myself to sleep, and then I had the strangest thought: does God's voice ever sound like a dog? Was He urging me to deny the flesh this particular morning? I can't say for sure, but after listening to that eerie "wake-up call" for a few moments longer, it was all I needed to make me swing my legs over the side of the bed.

I put the kettle on for some hot tea -- as a bit of caffeine was needed for such an early start. A sweet sister had given me some Scripture tea for my birthday -- chai green tea to be exact. One of my absolute favorites. As I opened the bag, I sensed in my spirit, "this verse is for you." My heart rate accelerated a smite as I anticipated maybe a word. And there it was in black and white:"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21 NIV." Wow!

Ever been at a formal event where everyone's dressed in black and someone walks in wearing a red gown? No doubt, the Scripture on the tea bag stood out just as vividly. But it didn't just stand there, it jumped off that tea bag straight into my heart.

I wrapped my hands around the warm mug and found my way to the spot on the worn couch out in my "garden enclosed." I had yet to read my morning devotional. Since Easter, I've been using Richard Foster's A Year With God: Living Out the Spiritual Disciplines. Each selection offers a Bible passage along with comments pertinent to the week's discipline, with this week being "The With-G0d Life." After just having the tea bag experience, my senses were heightened a bit, and correctly so, for right there in black and white I read, "We are called today not to repay evil for evil or to return abuse for abuse, but to repay evil with blessings" (ref. 1 Peter 3:9). Another red dress moment.

Yes, I know that God loves me and desires an intimate relationship with me -- one where we converse back and forth. I talk to Him and He talks to me. But why am I always so shocked when I actually hear Him speak? Indeed, Hebrews 4:12 says, "The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." And not only that, but God's Word is so relevant. It's always a "now" word. A "today" word. It speaks to my current situations, and never more so than this morning.

God knew the exact word I needed to hear. But the thing is it didn't come from the sky or a billboard or a megaphone pointed at my ear. He got me up early through the sound of a dog's bark, and met me right where I was in my daily activity in a way that simply could not be ignored.

And quite frankly, tea has never been so good -- or so sweet.

Just an ordinary moment...

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