God Didn’t Make a Mistake When He Made You

Cormorant. Image by sharkolot from Pixabay

Pity the poor cormorant.

This ungainly waterfowl is never at the top of anyone’s list of favourite birds.

It looks almost prehistoric, with its matte black feathers and strongly hooked bill. It lacks the beauty of a brightly coloured cardinal or the elegance of a swan.

The cormorant sits unusually low in the water, as though it’s about to sink. And because its wing feathers aren’t waterproof like those of other waterfowl, it needs to stand for long periods with wings outstretched, drying its feathers out in the sun.

It’s clumsy on land, and must expend more energy flying than other birds.

Nothing seems quite right about the cormorant.

Did God make a mistake when he fashioned them?

Not at all!

The cormorant’s lack of waterproofing actually plays to its advantage. Its waterlogged feathers make it less buoyant than ducks, enabling it to dive deeper in search of fish to eat.

Cormorants are excellent divers, agile and swift, with some species being able to dive to an astounding 150 feet.

So its “deficiencies” aren’t actually a bug, but rather a feature.

Do you ever feel like you’re not as good at things as other people? Do you feel as though you simply don’t measure up?

Rest assured, God didn’t make a mistake when he made you.

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A Perfect Fit

Image of tailorbird by hartono subagio from Pixabay

There’s nothing quite like a perfect fit, is there?

When you buy a piece of clothing that hugs you where it’s supposed to, and is more flowing where you want it to be looser, you feel confident and comfortable. There’s something special about a garment that seems like it was made just for you.

The tailorbird of tropical Asia know this, too. When it fashions a nest for its young, it makes sure it is perfectly suited for its young family.

The female tailorbird makes its nest out of a living leaf hanging from a shrub or tree. She chooses a leaf and carefully checks it for size by wrapping it around her body like a cloak.

If the leaf suits her, she uses her needlelike beak to sew the sides together with plant fibre or spider silk, making as many as 200 stitches.

Once the leaf “cup” has been sewn, the male tailorbird lines it with soft materials in preparation for the eggs that will soon be laid in it. The parent birds make a perfect home for their chicks.

If a tailorbird goes to so much trouble to make nest that is perfectly suited for her family, won’t God make sure that the service He has in mind for you is a perfect fit, too?

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Don’t Get Used To It

How would you feel if you won the lottery?

Pretty amazing, I’d imagine!

And the feelings of joy and gratitude at your good fortune would last for a long time, wouldn’t they?

Um, maybe not.

Researchers have discovered that positive feelings following a stroke of good luck soon subside and return to baseline. By the same token, people eventually adjust back to their baseline after some misfortune has befallen them.

This phenomenon is called “hedonic adaptation.” Whether your situation is good or bad, you get used to it.

I wonder if something like this happened to the children of Israel after being freed from slavery in Egypt.

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The Fires of Life

Image of giant sequoia by LoggaWiggler from Pixabay

Forest fires are fearsome things.

They can lay waste to hundreds of square miles of mature trees and displace wildlife. If they spread to areas of human habitation, they can raze buildings to the ground and devastate communities.

And yet, fires can play an important role in nature. Trying to suppress them too drastically can have a negative effect on the ecology of the forest.

It can backfire, so to speak.

Take the giant sequoia, native to inland California. This majestic tree can live for thousands of years and grow to a height of almost 300 feet.

You’d think that protecting groves of sequoias from fire would help preserve them. But sometimes when we interfere with the natural cycle of fire and regrowth, we do a forest no favours.

The suppression of fire during the last century by U.S. land management authorities actually hobbled the sequoia’s ability to survive. Its seedlings can only grow into mature trees if competing plants are regularly eliminated by low-level forest fires. (The sequoia’s spongy bark helps protect it against fire.)

Not only that, the cones of the sequoia require the intense heat of a forest fire in order to open up and release their cargo of seeds. If the surrounding ground has just been cleared of competing vegetation by fire and enriched with the resultant nutritious ash, the seeds are given an additional leg up to grow.

So the sequoia can only grow to its impressive grandeur with the help of fire.

Perhaps the same is true of us.

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All Hands On Deck

Image by Dirk Wouters from Pixabay

Do you ever feel like God couldn’t use you in His service?

Do you think you’re not qualified, because you don’t have any unique gifts?

Do you think ministry is just for pastors or other specially talented people like musicians and singers?

Banish these thoughts from your mind.

God can use anyone in the service of His Kingdom, and He has gifted each one of us with a unique combination of talents, skill sets, personalities, and backgrounds. There are people you can reach for the gospel that no one else can.

If you need more convincing, let’s take a look at the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. It took place at a time when Jerusalem’s walls and gates were in a shambles, which left the city vulnerable to attack from enemies.

Everyone’s help was needed to complete the repair work, and that included some of the most unlikely people.

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You CAN Get There From Here!

Image by sdmacdonaldmiller from Pixabay

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t get there from here?”

Said to have originated in the US state of Maine, it’s used humorously when describing a distant location that can’t be accessed without extensive, complicated directions.

The place might be difficult to get to from your current location, and the route may be very hard to describe. People simply throw up their hands rather than try.

This phrase is now used more generally to describe a problem that can’t be solved:

You simply can’t get there from here.

…or can you?

There may be things in your life that you think are impossible to solve.

But with God in the driver’s seat, you’d be surprised at where you may end up.

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See You Again Soon!

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Just a note to my readers that The Faith Cafe will be taking a short break for the next while.

I’ll look forward to reconnecting with you later in the summer with more articles about God’s love and how we can find Him all around us.

In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful summer filled with God’s richest blessings!

In Christ,

Lori Cartmell

God Sees You In Infrared

Photo by Veronica H. on Pixabay

Did you know that some birds and bees can see things that are completely invisible to us? They’re able to see in infrared, just beyond the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum that human eyes can detect.

What looks to us like a regular pink flower might resemble a helicopter landing pad to a bee. Where we see only the uniform expanse of one colour, the bee may see a target-shaped design involving different colours. The bee’s infrared vision allows it to home in on the most nectar-rich part of the flower.

The world looks completely different when you can see in infrared.

I sometimes think that God sees us in “infrared.” He can see things in us that are invisible to others, and even to ourselves.

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Beauty Out Of Brokenness

Photo by treenabelle on Pixabay

Once this pandemic is over, psychologists warn that many of us may suffer from post-traumatic stress for some time to come.

Some of us will have seen our business close down for good, suffered isolation and loneliness, or may have even lost a loved one during the COVID-19 crisis.

But is PTSD a given in these circumstances? Is there different outcome that can occur, an unexpected benefit that may arise out of these difficult times?

Psychologists say yes: there’s such a thing as post-traumatic growth.

It’s been found in survivors of war, cancer, and natural disasters. Some people emerge from a crisis with increased spirituality, a greater sense of personal strength, new priorities and closer relationships with others. What could have broken them actually made them better.

This phenomenon reminds me a bit of “sea glass.” Sea glass, or beach glass, found washed up on shores, starts out as merely cast-aside pieces of broken glass. Perhaps they’ve been tossed overboard from a ship, or thrown into the sea from land along with other garbage.

These shards of glass endure years of being buffeted against the stones of the sea bottom. It seems like they’re being dashed about mercilessly by the relentless action of the waves. Surely no good could come of this?

But then, something almost magical emerges.

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Start As You Mean To Go

Image by morzaszum from Pixabay

Have you ever heard the phrase “start as you mean to go on”?

Maybe your parent or teacher taught it to you. But what exactly does it mean?

It means to begin doing something in the same manner that you intend to continue doing it: to set a consistent pattern of behaviour right from the start.

That way, everyone will know what to expect from you, and they won’t end up disappointed.

Many of us have a hard time being consistent. We start out the new year with grand resolutions about exercising more, being a better parent, or reading the Bible.

But then our enthusiasm wavers, we get busy, and our resolutions fall by the wayside.

What about Jesus? Did Jesus start as He meant to go in His earthly ministry?

Let’s take a look at His first miracle and see what we find out.

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