The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him (Lamentations 3:25)
Years ago, the sweet man who led our choir then leaned back in his stool at the front of the choir room. He told us in a slow southern drawl what he remembered about his mother. I think about his story often.
On the dark and stormy nights of his childhood, when the thunder raged and lightning struck close enough to illuminate his room, he would awaken to find his mom sitting in a chair at the foot of his bed. She sat with him through the storms, praying over him, even while he continued to sleep.
That’s what he remembered about her: her presence in the stormy nights.
Last night, I supervised the brushing of teeth and the donning of pajamas, packing lunches and backpacks, and laying out clothes for the new day. We read bedtime stories. We prayed as a family.
This morning, I poured cereal and buttered toast. I placed ice packs in the lunches and zipped up the backpacks, all full for the day.
I helped with shoes and socks, combed hair, and reminded my daughters (too many times) to brush their teeth and to do it well because they don’t want cavities or bad breath and, by the way, we’re going to the dentist next week.
Sticking my head out the door for a moment, I checked the weather. Then I held jackets open for each girl to slip in her arms. I broke up a fight and gave a crying daughter a hug, calmed her down, and then placed the two sisters on a school bus.
And the day went on with more little tasks and routine activities.
I don’t remember these moments from my childhood. Do you? I don’t remember my mom tying my shoes or helping me put on my jacket. I don’t remember her supervising bath time or pulling my hair into pigtails.
Even though I don’t remember those things, she did them. I was clean, fed, dressed, and groomed. My life must have been filled with years and years of everyday love that I don’t remember.
Usually these acts of love remain unnoticed and undervalued . . . unless they’re missing. Those children who aren’t fed well, bathed, read to, hugged, kept safe, and tucked into their own cozy beds at night feel the lack. Only they perhaps really know how important the small things are.
What will my kids remember about this time with me? It’s not likely they’ll remember the moments of jackets and breakfasts and backpacks. They don’t lack for these things. They likely take them for granted, just as I did.
But they might remember something unique or big, just like the man who recalls his mom sitting with him through stormy nights.
I wonder, then, what do I remember about God, my Father? When I tell about His presence in my life, what has become part of my story? Usually, it’s the stormy times when I awaken in fear only to find His presence by my side. It’s the times He’s kept me safe and delivered me from danger.
Yet, we so often overlook the miracles of everyday grace, the simplest signs of His affection and the fact that He cares for our needs and yes, sometimes even our desires.
When we always look for the glorious miracle, the immediate and the extraordinary, we miss thanking God for the gradual, the expected, and the small.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “A slow miracle is no easier to perform than an instant one.”
Yet, we revel in the answers to prayer that come fast. The ones that don’t require interminable waiting and inconvenient patience.
We pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” and then miss the miracle of everyday provision—until it seems in jeopardy.
In the book of Nehemiah, the exiles who returned to Jerusalem skipped sleep, fended off enemies, prayed, and labored with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other. They hefted bricks until the walls of Jerusalem were complete, all in just 52 days. It was a miracle. Even their enemies knew that:
When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God (Nehemiah 6:16).
How easy it would be to forget that, though, because God chose not to build the walls with a word from His lips or destroy their enemies with an earthquake or flood.
As Kelly Minter writes in Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break:
“It’s worth noting that so far we’ve read nothing of angels, burning bushes, or talking donkeys. Instead, we’ve seen God use what we might consider ordinary to bring about extraordinary transformation: prayer, repentance, willingness, hard work, sacrifice, humility, faith. Though miraculous displays of God’s power are to be desired and cherished, I’m equally impressed with God speaking silently to Nehemiah’s heart in the most ‘normal’ of circumstances. Be encouraged that the common, everyday realities are ideal environments for God to put something in our hearts to do” (Minter 116).
Take time to thank God today for the daily bread, for forgiving our trespasses, for His mercies made new every morning, for His great faithfulness, and because He is good to you (Lamentations 3:23-26). Thank Him for answered prayers and ministry opportunities. Thank Him for the quiet ways He speaks to your heart and for the encouragement He brings you day after day.
It may not be spectacular, like fireworks in the night sky. Still, it’s love. That’s worth remembering.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King