I went out on the back deck last evening just before dinner to enjoy the tranquility of the moment. The weather was perfect, in the mid-seventies with an ever-so-slight breeze, clear blue skies with the setting sun slowly sliding down between the tall trees to the west of our property. As I looked across the freshly mowed and trimmed lawn, I was taken in by the beauty of the scene projecting before my eyes.
It had been a good day. I was able to get the riding mower going after not seeing any use for about 5 months, mowed the back, trimmed with the string trimmer and pulled a bunch of weeds growing in the garden area surrounding the deck. I had decided the day before to put out the new windmill that I actually purchased at the end of last summer. The original plan was to put it out after I had re-landscaped the area… but, why wait… right! Why not enjoy it now! With the weeds gone, the windmill next to the deck looks pretty good to me!
It felt really good to stand on the deck last night and focus on the manicured yard. But I also couldn’t help but think about the goodness of God toward Piper and I over these last ten years! The thought came to mind of all the testimonies that I have written of in this blog that center around our lessons learned from unpleasant circumstances and the ill-advised words and actions we’ve had to deal with ON TOP OF the emotional pain of Piper’s physical illness.
But last night in the almost surreal atmosphere of our yard amidst the bursts of spring unfolding 180 degrees around us, all I could think of was how good Papa God has been to us through every step of this journey that Piper and I are traveling in. Through every new doctor’s report, through the tests and trials of newly prescribed medicines, through every physical change occurring in my sweet wife’s once vibrant body, mind and spirit, through both the positive and the few negative interactions with the people around us and with just about everything else we’ve been through, He has taken us by the hand and walked us through it all in peace with a touch of joy!
Philippians 4:6 reminds us to “Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests WHILE GIVING THANKS.” (God’s Word ©) At times like last night, I can’t help but become overwhelmed with thanksgiving unto God.
Have you ever experienced that?
Over the last few years I have become a fan of the Canadian television drama “The Murdock Mysteries.”* We had become familiar with the star of the show Yanick Bisson, through his involvement with the Sue Thomas F.B.eye series that originally aired on the PAX Network in the early 2000’s. In the new series he plays the fictional character Detective William Murdock of the Toronto Constabulary at the turn of the 20th Century. The character is very dedicated and scientific in coming up with and instituting many of the modern forensic tools that are in use today.
The writers are also very creative by mixing historical characters, facts and events into the plots of their fictional stories. In one episode, a popular actor from the local Vaudeville Theater is murdered. All of the actors employed at the theater come under suspicion including a very young juggler named W.C. Fields.
At the very end of the episode after many twists and turns in the plot, Murdock proves that the theater manager killed the victim who was actually blackmailing the manager over the murder of the manager’s rich mother! In the last scene one of the regular Constables on the show approaches W.C. Fields who turns to the officer and tells him a joke with a funny accent that he hadn’t used before in the show (which in reality was the trademark voice of the real W.C. Fields). And with that the Constable tells him that he is really funny but should “drop” the silly accent!
Well, I told you all that to say that on a hunch I went online and looked up the biography of W.C. Fields. I knew him to be a famous actor and comedian, but knew little of his personal background. As it turns out, he was actually a very lonely, bitter, satirical and angry man! He was a staunch atheist and alcoholic and although married for 46 years until his death on Christmas Day in 1946, lived estranged from his wife, although they regularly corresponded and he voluntarily sent her a monthly stipend.
Here we have an individual who on the outside looked to be living a great and popular life… while on the inside, he was nothing but an empty shell. I can’t imagine a life like that… can you?
Because we chose to yield our lives and marriage to the Lord Jesus Christ from the very beginning, I feel like Piper and I have lived a charmed life… compared to the man who seemed to have it all, but in reality, had nothing. Yes, we’ve had to deal with some heart-wrenching experiences over these last ten years… but as I stood on our deck last night, I found myself over-flowing with gratitude and thanksgiving to God who has stood with us… and at times carried us through or over it all!
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ…” (2 Corinthians 2:14 KJV) YES! Now and forevermore we give thanks unto Him for His goodness, His grace, His love, His constant encouragement, His strength when we’ve had none and for the ability to walk in an uncanny atmosphere of JOY when the situations of life are yelling the opposite of His Word to us!
What more can I say!
Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourselves… “Why am I expecting to be THANKFUL to God today?”
* The television series is based on characters from the novel series by Maureen Jennings. It just completed its 11th season on the CBC network in Canada and had seasons 1-7 available on Net flics. Seasons 1-10 are available on DVD.