One of the many joys of small-town-country living in Western Pennsylvania is that with fall it comes a season of melancholic beauty, colorful leaves (which could also be a curse…depending on who you ask : ) and my favorite, a myriad of festivals all around, almost every weekend from September to Thanksgiving. As it happened, we just had our township festival a few days ago. Of course, there was a parade, which we had the blessing to have pass by right in front of our house. At around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, we armed ourselves with sweatshirts and baseball hats to cover up our pjs. and our morning hair, and down the driveway we went. Grandma stopped by and encouraged the kids to get bags to collect the bounty of candy that was about to start pouring out the windows of the various vehicles in the parade. My little Dylan grabbed his bag, opened it wide in his outstretched arms, took a deep breath, closed his eyes, looked upwards and said: “fill it up God!”
There were basically two ways to react to this. One way was to look at him, laugh, and think to yourself, “what a big bum,” which was exactly what I did. The other way was to see it from a whole other perspective, and exclaim with a sigh, “o the faith of a child.”
I have to admit that it has taken me till now to see it the second way. I think it is, perhaps, because my faith is certainly not like that of a 5 year old. I have become cynical and too dependent on my own means for provision. I worry too much about tomorrow and I keep my “bag” tightly closed so nothing can get out of it. But then, I started thinking about what I heard a while back on the radio… “what if we live our lives with open hands, that way, God can take away whatever He wants to take away, but He would also put in there more than we can ever imagine.” What if I were to leave my “bag” wide open for Him to take away the heavy burdens that weigh me down, and replace them with His immeasurable treasures, which I would otherwise miss, if I were to keep it vacuum-sealed? Maybe this is something I need to put into practice more intentionally. Maybe that’s the secret to a more content life. Maybe this is something to think about…
In the end, you can guess, Dylan’s bag did get filled up with goodies, which now I have to ration and hide. But I am grateful that I have been able to understand the reminder of the joy of the Lord’s faithfulness and generous provision, which brings smiles to my face like sweet treats in a crisp fall small-town day.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.”