Late yesterday, I read this idea from an article required for one of my courses of study. The story wants you to picture yourself awakening in the morning with the sun rising in the west, instead of in the east — a land where water flows UP hill and not down. Your favorite food grows on every tree on this new planet – Like fully-made pizzas, hot and ready to eat! Wouldn’t that be an amazing place to live?
Then it asks you to think of the world we already live in, where the article claims there isn’t anything quite so spectacular happening. The author seems to believe that for some reason here, on earth, we are not amazed for any reason. We all take everything for granted and don’t see what surrounds us.
I must be one very strange human being, at least according to the author – an oddity to truly wonder at, or maybe even to wonder about. . .
Why? Because I awaken every morning and look outside in such awe and wonder.
I can recall so many funny little stories from growing up. Times when I would wander through the woods, stroll through the creek, or climb trees – and I would dig, delve or stare for hours at what was around us. I wasn’t a church-going child growing up in Ohio, yet the world was still so miraculous to me. I would try to tell my dad things all the time and sometimes I would tell him so much he would become over-whlemed. Those were the times I would hear, “Judith, please, Stop! Goodness, your imagination and fascination!”
Whether the sunrise is colourful or just plain & brightening, it amazes me how each one bursts with such peace and beauty. If it is cloudy or foggy, I am taken aback by the softness of the sounds, the strange stillness of the birds twittering and chirping. You can hear them in the mist, and yet their sounds are somehow softened, muffled or muted on dank mornings. If the sunrise brings a colourful morning, the sky is uniquely designed by the clouds, shadowy trees, and particles in the air. No two are ever alike. The same with sunsets. How can you NOT be astonished every single time?
I see butterflies, bumble-dy bees, birdies, and MOST bugs as such a blessing – a little note here: I must say mosquitos and gnats are NOT on the list of joyful creations for me! Yet, in spite of the pests, there is still so much pleasantness surrounding me. I am often mesmerized by His creation – while trying to ignore those certain annoyances!
Those who truly know me can testify that one of my favorite things to stare at is. . . Drum roll please. . . A Fibonacci in nature. They are everywhere. You cannot escape them – the interior of a snail shell, especially the Nautilus, for example. There are also pine cones, sunflowers, mums, dahlias, rose petals, lettuce, ferns before they uncurl, certain trees when looked at from above. Yahweh placed the Fibonacci everywhere!
Yet in class, my professor's words were, “For some reason, we are not amazed.”
Not amazed??? I AM – every single day!!!
I cannot fathom how anyone would not react to our earthly home as though it is that Pizza Tree Planet I first mentioned!!! Have we gotten so busy in our business, so overwhelmed by our technology that we cannot see the trees for the selfies in the forests?
My professor believes that everyone must be lacking amazement and he blames the adage that “Familiarity breeds contempt.” He believes everything is so familiar and repetitive that we all take it for granted and ignore it.
I guess, again, I see things very differently: No sunrise can ever be repeated. Snowflakes do not look the same as each other. No sunflower, rose, wildflower, tree, or animal is ever the same as the one seen before.
Using another adage: Stop and smell the roses, and look around you! Yahweh has given us all so very much for which we should praise Him. Don’t let this alleged familiarity dull your sense of wonder at His Blessed Creations.
Random thought - I often see people post ribbons for awareness - one colour for fighting this disease, another colour for fighting that disease.
What if, instead, we decided to remember THE ribbon. . .
Number 15:38 "...Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a RIBBAND OF BLUE:..."
These are tzitzit, some of you have seen Jim and I wearing them. They are a reminder of the Commandments of Yahweh, the same ones Yeshua followed and we follow as well.
These tassels appear again in the New Testament:
Matthew 9:20 - "Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe,..."
What fringe? Yeshua's tassels which would have contained a ribband of blue, as described in Numbers 15.
We ought to use the ribbon Yeshua wore - tassels with a ribband of blue which Yahweh commanded us to wear, the ribbon which the woman with the issue of blood reached out for in the crowd.
Her faith led her to Him, her faith led her to go against the law of the day - she was forbidden to be out and about because she was bleeding, yet she reached out for Him.
Be said to herself, “If only I touch His cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take courage, daughter,” He said, “YOUR FAITH has made you whole.”
By the stripes Yeshua bore for us, we ARE HEALED - past tense, it is done. Our tassels are there to remind us of the commandments we choose to follow as an example of Christ. We want to emulate Him and His true character. They also can remind us of the sacrifice he has given for us, and that our faith has made us whole.
Yesterday, while listening to several lectures for college, I needed a break. I sensed that instead of listening to the next one, I would rather read the transcript. These lectures were all on the topic of prayer – specifically unanswered prayer, and they were not terribly uplifting or encouraging. I found myself grateful that I read the last ones instead of listening to the audio. The sorrow the professor kept expressing in each progressive lecture was deeper and deeper and, honestly, very heartbreaking. You could feel the ache in the his words still filled with so much hurt which he still experiences years after the painful loss of a loved one.
He quoted from several raw chapters in scripture where the writer’s sorrow runs so deep you can almost feel it physically, too:
How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? forever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? Psalm 13: 1-2
But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? Psalm 88:13-14
O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Habakkuk 1:2a
You couldn't help but see the sadness in these words, too, and wonder, what about all those "unanswered" prayers?
I was thinking on this while I cooked supper, and something occurred to me. As I tried to examine experiences through my whole life and the prayers I have sent heavenward during some of the most horrific times for our families, I cannot think of one single prayer that went UNanswered. Not one.
Then I said to myself, "Well, there was that time in high school I used to always use as an example of unanswered prayer - where I prayed and prayed for a new stereo, and it never came." I recalled how I kept waiting for it to just appear, maybe as a gift from my parents or grandparents - something "miraculous" to me. After all, I was getting good grades and working hard at my job. I wanted that stereo so badly. I guess thinking about it now - it was kind of silly and petty, to be honest. Yet in the mind of a teenager, it was very important.
I think now what a horrible example that was - I honestly believed for years as a young adult that it was an “unanswered prayer.” Yet looking back now, I recall other details: how I was given extra hours at work when someone had an emergency and needed extra time off – I made overtime which was very rare on my job for anyone, especially a teenager! I also was blessed by finding a better stereo than the one I wanted – for less than what I expected! I ended up buying it on a special sale, which left me with money left-over to spend on more records and cassette tapes. I went around telling everyone how "lucky" I was. . .Hmmm. . . Was it truly an unanswered prayer?
What about other times in my life when I thought my prayers went UNanswered?
Well, even when my dad was sick and dying in the hospital, many thought my prayers went unanswered. Yet, truth be told, they were not UNanswered. I recall riding from New Jersey to western New York, praying and praying and praying all the way to the hospital. Asking God to heal my daddy, give us a miracle!
My prayers of miracles, though, were not what was displayed. Hours after we arrived, Dad died.
And yet I know beyond a doubt that my prayers were not UNanswered. My prayer was not granted, true. Yet Yahweh DID answer my prayers. With a different answer than the one I wanted, expected, or hoped for, but he DID answer them. I can testify to you that my prayers WERE answered –all those hours that I spent praying, I KNEW they were answered; I FELT them answered; I HEARD them answered: Daddy was going Home.
I can also testify to you even to this day that I KNOW I received answer to prayer. The problem was, I did not like it, did not want it, and it hurt like heck. But you know what? Here’s the hardest part: God’s not Santa Claus where I can sit upon his knee and ask him for my wildest dreams, then find it wrapped in pretty paper, waiting for me to rip open the package in gleeful excitement. God’s not my personal Genie in a bottle, waiting to answer my every whim and wish the way I want it to be answered. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if we feel that way about Him when we pray to Him, though. We then get upset with Yahweh because he did not answer our prayers our way.
I kept praying for what I wanted, and I also kept brushing aside the feelings I had deep in my spirit that told me exactly what to expect. There are things in those hours before dad passed away that I did not want to face, and I did not take into consideration as I prayed:
- What of my dad’s prayers? As he lay in that bed, his physical body failing him, his body worn out, tired of fighting and weary, his brain barely functioning from the poisoning happening with the ammonia build up. WHAT WAS HE PRAYING FOR? He was tired, even before the emergency visit to the hospital – he was weary from his body being sick & weak, the physical pain, the depression from the drugs being used to kill the disease ravaging his system. He was tired.
- What of my mom’s prayers? She was so weary from seeing the man she had spent her whole life with, the man she fell madly in love with as a teenager and eloped so she could marry him. She was hurting so much from seeing his illness take every little bit of him away, piece by piece, all his suffering. The dreams they had of retiring and enjoying the cottage life in the woods – swept away by his sickness. What of her prayers?
Neither of my parents were believers and yet I know they were whispering things in their hearts as we all went through this together as a family. Dad, those last several hours, called mom’s name with every breath – as if he had something he HAD to tell her. He seemed relaxed, at peace, and I can’t help to wonder what he needed so deeply to say to her, yet couldn’t.
Still, there I was, thinking about how MY prayers “outranked” theirs.
And then, there I was almost 10 years later, going through the same things again. . . with my momma. Every phone call she talked of how weary she was, tired of the things going on in this world. I asked each time, “Can I pray with you mom?”
“Not yet, Judith. Not ready yet,” was all she would say. This time I didn’t pray for miracle healing – instead, I asked Yahweh to PLEASE fill my heart with what needed to be shared and said to my mom before she left this earth. PLEASE fill my mouth with the words she needed to hear of Him. He answered my prayers again – this time with the things I was truly asking for. I learned to put aside my personal wants and my wish list, and pray to help mom try to find her way back to Abba.
Abba is so loving, He is so very merciful, He is so very, very kind. And HE knows what is needed most of all. He makes a much better judge than I do, and I know that. Often times, we pray and we pray and we pray for what WE want, what will make life most comfortable for US. When we don’t get it, when our wish isn’t granted, we then get angry inside because of our UNanswered prayers.
Yet I wonder. . .if we each just took a moment or two to reflect – were those prayers truly UNANSWERED? Or, did we not like the answer we received?
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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