Psalm 36:7-9 (New International Version)
7 How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
This evening it was a little cooler than yesterday's, but the "swamp creatures" in our neighbourhood were as noisy as ever as I walked down our snaking driveway to add some cardboard to our recycling boxes. A peach-slice moon hung rosy in a swirly grey-cloud evening sky.
As I walked, I thought about a little book I've been reading, called, Mom in My Heart. I picked it up from a table at the back of our church that had a sign saying, "Free--take home." Well, who could resist? Gradually, after waiting decent intervals for others to have a chance, I acquired four or five books that I was thrilled to "take home." Mom in My Heart is the perfect book of short stories to dip into at odd moments, and I must have lots of those, because I'm half way through already.
It says on the front cover that it is: A Treasury of Heartwarming Stories about Moms COMPILED AND EDITED BY JOE L. WHEELER. They are the kind of stories I used to read when I was 11 or 12 and inherited a stack of books with colourful gilded and embossed covers, which had been Sunday School prizes in the early 1900's. The stories are sentimental to the max and full of feverish children, pale faces, trembling hands and lips, and moral lessons skillfully woven into story. Some of them are quite old, and the author's names are long lost. They have survived by being beloved.
At lunchtime today I told a co-worker about the latest story I read in my new-old book. I couldn't shake it from my mind. It was called, Applesauce Needs Sugar, and it took place during the Panic of 1896, a slump in the economy caused by far-off India switching its coinage of silver, to gold. A ripple effect caused by plunging Western mining and silver stocks, resulted in over six hundred banks closing their doors, seventy four railroads collapsing and thousands of businesses failing.
Against this depressing backdrop, is told the story of a Canadian family of 7 caught in the U.S. when the Panic hit. With no welfare and everyone in the same boat, people began to starve. The story is one of desperate faith in the face of grinding hunger and hopelessness and of course, in the end, the mother's faith is answered. But what struck me so deeply was not the true point of the story, that God hears and answers prayers, but the dramatic contrast between a world in which people on the continent of North America were literally starving and living on cornmeal mush, if they were lucky, for days and weeks; and the world we live in now.
How much we have to be grateful for with our comfortable, temperature controlled homes, full fridges and freezers, and far too easy credit. My glimpse into a place and time in the past, has made me realize how much we take for granted.
So tonight I thank God for all of his blessings and ask forgiveness for ever feeling discontent, and for greed that cries out, "More."
Thank you Father for all of your blessings. Thank you for reminding me of how rich we are. Thank you for the blessing of this book and the power of story to teach a lesson I need to remember.
New International Version (NIV)
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