Back Porch Seminary

I am a Christian.

And I am waiting for something.

To say I have no control over the situation is to say all.  The USPS and the airlines and the individual mail carriers on their good days and bad and the cars they drive and the wind and the rain and the butterfly wafting his wings in the rainforest have more to contribute to this than I do.

So I, the wait-er with no part to play in the delivery of documents through 14 hours of time zones on a firm and approaching deadline, sit in the seminary of the back porch and wait.


I tell God in our time together that I know He sees the documents in their dark and obscure mailbag in the hold of a plane that is somewhere in all of Asia.  The papers in their fat envelope, one of a million similar envelopes, are as lit up and on top of His desk as His angel itinerary for the day.  This is so true and so comforting.

And then without conscious choice, I forget that He, Himself, is the divine Mail Carrier who appoints delivery on a perfect schedule.  Instead I go sit in the what-ifs of three months from now assuming the documents never arrive and plan B is my responsibility.

Then His word calls me back.  And I read that His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom:
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.”   Psalm 45: 6.
And His name and His praise cover this earth – this earth and this back porch:
As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.”  Psalm 48: 10

Pondering His absolute sovereignty, I look up at the pecan trunk that crumbled and collapsed in last night’s wind.  With it went the slumbering woodpecker fledglings and now daddy woodpecker, the beautiful one, is as distressed as Rachel who wept for her children but refused to be comforted because they were no more.

I also listen to this morning’s addition to the bird chorus – our neighbors’ adult grandson who is profoundly autistic.  When he comes to visit, he strides their backyard and screams incoherent distress to the heavens. He is part of the morning chorus.

And for a moment the lost documents pale beside the magnitude of the grand redemption story we are in.  Sorrow and glory always entwined, and glory triumphant.  With the certainty of the story’s end, there is no getting wrong this chapter about documents delivered or undelivered.  He will make right out of whatever happens.  How could it go wrong when the kingdom is an everlasting kingdom?

But the deadline is tomorrow, and . . .

His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom!

Even the tiny world of the back porch confirms this.



I Accept With Pleasure


Recently, in need of a more visible God, I began envisioning myself reaching out to hold His hand when I was straying, or in need of wisdom, or getting ready to open my mouth.  Just a little moment where I mentally held out my open hand in invitation to a hand-hold.

And being the kind of God He is, He lavished that tiny God-ward act with 10 times more than I asked.  The next morning in the pre-dawn quiet time, I read Isaiah 42:6:  “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.”

I am not kidding.  It was that clear and direct an acceptance, an “I would love to hold your hand!”

And lest I call it a coincidence, three days later He honored me again with Psalm 73:23, “Yet I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand.”  I was not doing a Google search.  I was reading from the Jesus Calling devotional for November written in 2004.

If the intricacies of the eyeball and the opposable thumb don’t convince me of a sovereign God, the immense unlikelihood of the timing of those verses selected 10 years ago for November 13th and 16th coming to me the day after I looked God’s way with an inarticulate plea does convince me.  Not just of His sovereignty, but of His love.  That He would look at a wall-flower and say He would love to dance.  That He would have His acceptance letter ready a decade in advance.  That He would flood, flood, flood with happy grace and love.

And all I did was hold out my hand.  Wow.