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DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: Listening

I thought spring had arrived and was planning to stay, but last weekend Mother Nature reminded us that she can be fickle. My wife keeps many of her houseplants in the garage for the winter. When I think the weather has sufficiently warmed up, I begin taking them back outside. I had about half her plants outside when the recent cold snap arrived.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

Thus began the process of bringing the plants back into the garage. The problem was that her potted perennial plants had come up and had produced lots of beautiful spring leaves. These plants, especially her beautiful hostas, needed some protection from the cold, too. The choice between her car and the beautiful plants being in the garage became no competition. The car was out.

For a couple of days, the garage was more beautiful than a florist. My wife truly has some stunning, beautiful plants. Her plants and flowers make being on our porches a sanctuary. Their beauty and the peacefulness attract the Lord’s presence. I can sit for hours on either our front or back porch. My soul is refreshed by the beauty that she and God create.

Many of the plants are now back outside, but there are still more plants in the garage that need to find their places outside. A few of them are extra-large ones and only get moved out and in once a year. So, we have to be sure all Mother Nature’s fun and games are done. Hurricanes can cause the plants to come back in the garage again, but that is a different story.

I like to walk in my neighborhood and take in God’s handiwork in my neighbor’s yards. God really does a beautiful job at waking up the earth after a long and drab winter. Everything is in bloom and all that pollen drives my sinuses crazy, but I just love stopping and admiring all the beauty around me.

I like to go for walks. My wife and I prefer to walk on the beach, but the neighborhood will have to do for now. Sometimes I will go for walks alone. I like to think about things when I am alone. I also like to talk to the Lord because I know that I am truly never alone. We have nice talks as I thank Him for the beauty He created. I pray for my friends. Some of my friends get lots of prayers, others get a few. I always figure He knows who needs my prayers.

Sometimes, I pray what I might call worry prayers. Do you know what I mean? I have some friends who are professional worriers. They might call me an amateur. I don’t want to become a professional worrier. I would rather be a warrior in prayer.

Two times recently I started down the path of worry, one was late at night and the other was on one of my walks. It was the same subject approached from two different angles. I am so glad that Jesus is patient and that He understands our human weakness. In both cases the critical element in the conversation was that I began to listen.

Jesus began to show me, in both situations, specifically how and why I needed to trust Him. He knew all about the problem and He didn’t need my detailed analysis. He had a brilliant solution to the problem. What He needed and wanted from me was my faith. I needed to apply my faith to His solution and trust that He was already working on it.

I believe the problem is that we want to point out all the problems that He is obviously overlooking. What Jesus wants from us is to stay close to Him, look into His eyes, spend time in His word, and look to see where He is working on our lives today. If we will go to where He is working and work with Him today, all those other things will work themselves out. My new prayer is: God help me find where you are working today and help me to work there, too.

I want to encourage you to pray that prayer with me. Don’t let other things distract you or keep you away from His presence. He is working on you to make you more like Jesus. The key is to listen and to trust Him completely. We don’t always understand what He is doing. We just need to trust that He is working on our behalf. It’s not easy, but He will help us. And remember that He is good, loving, kind, and patient with us.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or doug@dougcreamer.com.