A Gift from God

I’ve had a really awesome last two hours.

I drove into the village around 5:45. Four little children were playing on the front porch of the house next door. Ethny—the 4-year-old daughter of a couple, both of whom I knew when they were pre-teens—saw me and waved with a huge smile on her face.

Then she ran out towards my car and ran the length of her yard next to my car. I slowed to 5 mph so she could keep up, then waved, smiled and parked. It was so sweet to see her beaming, laughing, and waving.

I came in, ate dinner with the twenty people who live in my house, and talked about some very interesting studies on the intelligence of crows. Our house is prone to being intellectual, so there was plenty of feedback when I told them about crows bending wire to fish food out of a bottle.

After dinner, I talked to a distraught teenage girl, daughter of a single mom, who’d had a rough day emotionally. Thanks to over a decade of God dealing with me in church life, I pushed past my natural timidity—my friends all laugh when I tell them I’m shy, but I’m pretty certain I was painfully shy as a young man—and talked to her even after she told me she didn’t need to talk.

We had a wonderful talk, and she assured me it helped. In fact, I hear her laughing loudly at something in the living room behind me.

I came out to the living room, where the 3-year-old daughter of the other family that lives here, the Briggs, was having trouble containing her energy. I had to deliver a check to another house, so I asked her if she wanted to walk up the hill with me.

She did, but on the way out my wife took the opportunity to spray me with a spray bottle that she’d confiscated from the little girl, who had been spraying its contents into a bottle of vitamin C she’d managed to get her hands on. My wife sprayed me not once, not twice, but three times.

She thought it was pretty funny, but as I walked out I noticed that the garden hose was turned on with a spray handle on the end of it. I pulled it to the front door, opened the door, and sprayed my wife back … with a full blast from the hose. Then I ran down the road with little Katie while my wife shouted assurances to me. She was assuring me I’d regret it.

At the corner, Katie twisted her ankle, so I put her on my shoulders, then ran up the hill to shouts of "run, run," and "faster, faster."

I’m 49. The "run, run" didn’t fall on deaf ears, but the "faster, faster" did.

After I delivered the check, Katie and I walked the long way back, though we stopped to pet the miniature donkey the village has. The llama came close enough to smell my hand, but it wouldn’t let us pet him.

Oh, did I say walk? She ran, I danced. I would have sang and danced, but I’m not in that kind of shape anymore. So I danced and gasped for breath instead.

Usually, this blog is about God and the Gospel.

Today, this blog is about God and the Gospel, too.

This is the life God has built for us. The Scriptures say that he the Spirit of God will shed the love of God abroad in our hearts.

We didn’t design Rose Creek Village. We just followed God. We met together from our separate houses like all other Americans. But we demanded wholeheartedness from each other, and we committed ourselves to whatever God would build, whatever the cost.

After years, this is what God has built.

It’s nothing like we could have imagined.

It turns out that God doesn’t have the priorities we thought he had. We used to be consumed with our personal holiness. He taught us to be so consumed with doing his will—walking in love and serving—that we didn’t have time to think about our personal holiness.

There’s a difference between those things.

The product is a fellowship that is deeply satisfying.

Every day, we have to learn to give that fellowship, not to demand it. We understand what it means to love without being loved back.

We also understand that it’s very difficult to love without being loved back.

Love is powerful.

Love is also not carnal. It comes from God.

God built this life for us, and I just want to express my gratefulness to him. On days like today, it’s easy to see the purpose of the way we live.

By the way, the way we live is not in community. That’s just a by-product, a symptom, if you will, of having the Spirit of God, even when we’re weak people prone to carnality.

The way we live is in subjection to God.

It takes faith. What is hard today, when all you see is denying yourself, will eventually yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness—and righteousness looks a lot like love, friendship, mercy, and joy.

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3 Responses to A Gift from God

  1. Nate Morales says:

    Great stuff on living out the life our father has called us to.
    Miss you guys!

  2. Pingback: Shammah is loving our life

  3. John Bob says:

    Well I’m gonna tag on to that… my night was pretty awesome too. But in a different way.

    For those who don’t know me and are reading this, my name is John and I live in the same village as Shammah.

    I got home from work last night, knowing that my wife was gone and I would arrive to a sitter and a sick child. My middle one, Adaryn had a terrible headache and was down for the count.

    I was greeted warmly by the other two, and the sitter, a wonderful young lady named Jubilee was attending sweetly to the sicko.

    No one was home but us. Both of the ladies of the house were out and about. I checked on dinner and was trying to figure out what to do, when it happened.

    Jubilee came out and said, “Papa John… Adaryn had a problem.” In the most sweet voice she could muster.

    Addy had thrown up all over the place. It was like a scene from a movie. I was overwhelmed inside. The sitter and my other two girls were watching my face as I surveyed the scene of the event.

    It’s funny to say it about such a small thing, but it’s good to see it in these small things. Before I could say anything though, Jubilee says, “Papa John, I’m with you tonight. I’m not going anywhere.”

    We made our battle plan and attacked it. I smiled at the girls and said, these are the times we have to worship our God all the more, and He’ll take care of the rest. So I turned on some loud music we can sing along to, and away we went, each doing our dirty job and having a lot of laughs in the process as we fought our gag reflexes.

    God was with me. He sent me this sweet young lady whom I’ve known for about 5 years now and used to toss around and snuggle when she was much less a lady and much more a little girl… He sent her to give me hope.

    I praise God for putting us together. I’ve lived in ‘community’ before. I’ve done the commune thing. I’ve tried to live by those principles… they never work. What does work is the Spirit of the Living God leading you to His Life! There’s nothing like it, and once you find it, and embrace it, you really will never ever be alone again.

    My God turned a typically rough night into a really fun time. Thank you Lord…

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