Friday, August 24, 2012
That good things are chasing us down
I remember the school science experiments I used to do with magnets and iron filings. These tiny bits of metal dust follow a magnet around, making it look like some sort of hairy critter. If iron filings had thoughts, resistance would be futile. There is no way one of them could possibly break from the crowd and say, "I don't think I'll follow the magnet today. I'm happy right where I am." I thought about these iron filings today when I read about the great blessings God has in store for His people.
For most of my life, I've had entirely the wrong idea about blessings. I've had a "blink and you'll miss them" sort of mentality. I was like a girl chasing butterflies with a net. Or if you're a fiction reader, they're like those cheeky little flying keys in the first Harry Potter book. Remember how Harry and his two friends faced the seemingly impossible challenge of racing around in a room amid thousands of tiny flying keys, trying to snatch the one which would open the door to the next chamber?
When I was a Primary School student, the teacher used to hide a few objects around the classroom and reward the two or three people who found them. While I was searching high and low, a few other voices would cry out, "I found one." My heart would sink because I'd missed out. This sort of scenario followed me into adulthood. Just a few years ago at a conference, I shifted from the spot I'd been sitting all morning, thinking that if my daughter, Emma, came through from her scrapbooking activity I'd be easier to find in the aisle. No sooner had I moved than a lady announced that five beautiful CDs had been hidden beneath random seats around the auditorium. You guessed it; the lady who'd been sitting for five seconds where I'd been for four hours gave a shout of joy.
Roald Dahl wrote about a similar situation in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." The golden tickets have all been found. Augustus, Veruca, Violet, Mike and Charlie are the lucky ones. You've missed out. That's how I unconsciously imagined blessings; glittery and scarce.
But Deuteronomy 28 tells me, "All these blessings will come and overtake you." Then it goes on to list every area in which we may expect to be blessed, including our offspring, our transport, our work, our provisions and our reputations. I think, Wow, that's a different way of looking at it. It requires a total change of mindset. I am traveling along the road, oblivious, and blessings are pursuing me. Instead of the desperately hopeful customer who goes into the deli, clutching my hot little coin, to buy a Wonka Bar, I am actually the golden ticket. Blessings are looking for me.
What a bizarre concept, but when I think about it, it's often turned out to be the case. When I've bothered to stop running for a while, blessings have perched on me like those birds in princess stories, taking me completely by surprise. Babies, houses, prizes, money, new friends. My first thought is, That hasn't happened very often, but then I have to admit that the occasions when it has happened coincide with the times I've paused to reflect and simply enjoy life. When I'm busy tearing around like those little winged keys, looking for blessings, little do I know I'm actually fleeing from them, making them harder to catch up with me.
Hmmm, interesting thought. I'm going to appreciate every good thing, large or small, treating it as one of those iron filings that can't help following me whenever it's anywhere near. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with unexpected blessings.