I passed a hill the other day – a naked mound with five trees. Nearby, a forest of trees stood mocking the vacant hillside that once harbored the same forest. Years ago stripped bare of all trees but five, it stands exposed.I thought of what the hillside was missing – about all it had lost. How time and man had decided to take away that which God had first blessed its ground with. I mourned for the hill in a way, identifying with the feeling of what could have been, should have been. Afterall, the mocking forest was proof – like a mirror held up to the hill, reminding it of what it lost.
Sometimes I feel like that hill, and I can’t take my eyes off the forest.
I look around at what I am missing, focusing on what could have been, what should have been, what should be, and I miss what I have. I lose sight of what is. I compare myself to a standard that would never make sense for me, for my life. I name the hill – “The hill with all the trees missing”.
Then I decide I should focus on the positive – you know, that “eucharisteo” word floating around the blogs on cyberspace. What if I looked at the positive in this? The hill does have five trees, and it is a beautiful green, grassy hillside. It would not be if the trees were still dense, blocking out the sunlight. But that isn’t enough. While I may be thinking positively, I am still casting judgement – choosing to label something as good or bad. And let’s face it – forcing myself to label something as “good” doesn’t make it good.
Another blogger writes about finding gratitude in the hard things, and at first I read it to say be thankful in everything. “I’ve heard that before” I think – mind over matter, the “power of positive thinking”, focus on your blessings, it has all been said….
But what if it isn’t about a label?
As I understand more of what this blogger writes – about being thankful in all this, I begin to see it. It isn’t about changing the name or perspective of a hill or obstacle……..What if I let the label go? What if I accepted everything as a gift from God. What if the hill was just a “Hill with five trees” and I loved that hill just because it praises our Creator when the grass shimmers, and it stands bold reflecting sunlight from its bare snowy face, and all of it points to Him?
What if my life was that way? What if my house was just a shelter for our family to bend knee to Him? What if my laundry reminded me of the garment ripped from his body, that the soldiers cast lots for, or the first clothes He made for Adam and Eve after they sinned? What if the dishes were a way to pause for the singing of a hymn of praise? What if all this was for Him, to Him? What if?
His word tells us this is true in Colossians 1: “All things have been created through Him and for Him.” When I turn everything back to Him for His glory, I too am changed. Oh, but how to do this in the day to day? It has to be in the moments, doesn’t it? Do we have anything else to give but this…very…moment…here…now?
I think back to the hill, and I take a look at my life, and what I have of true value, or what anyone really has of true value, and I realize – my wealth is in the moments, and those moments are just as beautiful, just as precious, just as priceless as everyone elses. Moments are outside the boundaries of economies, governments, property, families, power or prestige. They are a common currency – spent equally by all – one. at. a. time.
So we can take this moment – this very moment – and give it to eternity. We can let it bind us to Him who holds all in the palm of His hand and we can say – no matter what He gives or withholds, I am yours, these moments are yours.
And in the midst of this surrender, we find true transformation – one moment at a time.
At the foot of the cross,