Love In Disguise

Image of elephant by laurent marx from Pixabay

Have you ever been shocked to find out that things which look nothing alike are actually closely related?

I know two men who are brothers, but who don’t resemble one another at all. One takes after his father with his dark, curly hair; the other has his mother’s straight blond hair. You would never take them for siblings by just looking at them.

It’s the same in the natural world, too. There are some plants which surprisingly belong to the same family, despite looking totally different. Broccoli and cabbages, for instance, which are both Brassicas. It’s hard to believe from their appearance that they have common roots, so to speak.

This disparity is even more evident in the animal world.

Surprisingly, jellyfish and corals are related, even though one swims like a fish and the other is fixed in place like a plant. They’re both members of the Cnidarian family.

Horseshoe crabs are actually more closely related to spiders than to other crabs, despite there seeming to be no family resemblance at all.

Image of manatee by PublicDomainImages from Pixabay

Elephants and manatees are kin, even though one lives on land and the other underwater.

I think the love of God follows this same pattern at times.

Sometimes His love looks nothing like what we would expect, so we don’t recognize certain circumstances as reflecting God working in our lives for our good.

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The Comparison Trap

Image by Sue Rickhuss from Pixabay

Around this time of year, an unwanted visitor makes its way into many a gardener’s life.

I’m not talking about weeds or pests, although we certainly have to contend with those.

Rather, I’m referring to garden envy.

It starts out when we’re visiting the gardens of friends or neighbours. At first, we admire their lush plantings and attractive landscaping.

If we’re not careful, however, this appreciation can morph into envy. We think, I wish I had roses as beautiful as hers. Or, if only I had room in my yard for a gazebo like he does.

This envy can then develop into disenchantment with what we have. Why am I stuck with so much shade in my yard? Why can’t we afford an inground pool?

We can even become resentful of our comparatively meagre gardens, when we should be grateful to have a garden at all: many people don’t.

Envy is something we need to nip in the bud, whether it relates to our gardens or our lives.

We get into trouble when we start comparing ourselves to others. This is true even in spiritual matters.

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The Dark Side of the Moon

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Is the “dark side” of the moon truly as dark as we think it is?

From Earth, we only see one side of our companion satellite. The moon is “tidally locked” with our planet, with the result that it always presents the same face to us.

Because we can’t see the side of the moon facing away from the Earth, we sometimes assume that it’s in perpetual darkness.

But this isn’t so. The “dark side” of the moon (which should more accurately be called the “far side”) gets just as much sunlight as the face we see. All sides of the moon receive the sun’s light equally in turn.

From the sun’s perspective, the moon doesn’t have a dark side at all.

It’s our perspective that throws us off and leads us to the wrong conclusion.

We can easily fall prey to misconceptions about our own lives, too. When we don’t have the right perspective, we can assume that things are darker than they really are.

Naomi in the Old Testament Book of Ruth certainly made this mistake.

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An Avalanche of Blessings

Image by Tatjana Posavec from Pixabay

Avalanches are mysterious things.

The snow on the mountains appears static and unchanging. From day to day, nothing looks different. It seems like the status quo will continue as before.

But then all of a sudden, a mass of snow and ice breaks loose and barrels down the hills. Sweeping change happens in a flash, seemingly coming out of the blue.

There was no hint that this would happen.

Or was there?

Underneath the surface, things were going on that we couldn’t see. Perhaps the composition of the snowpack was changing, the load was becoming too great, or sublayers were weakening through melting. From above, we might not be able to tell that the snowpack was becoming increasingly unstable.

But it was now being held in such precarious tension that at any moment a tipping point would be reached. It would be enough to set the whole thing off, leading to a massive snow slide.

Do you ever feel that you’re in a period in your life where nothing seems to be happening? Despite your prayers for change, everything looks the same from day to day.

Looks can be deceiving.

When Jesus is in the picture, sudden change may be on its way, perhaps even an avalanche of blessings.

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The Gift You Didn’t Expect

Photo from Needpix, Public Domain

Did you ever receive a gift that wasn’t quite what you were expecting?

Maybe you’d dropped hints to your husband that you wanted a certain designer perfume for Christmas, and instead you received…a power drill (coincidentally, exactly the one he wanted for his workshop!).

Or you were certain that your brother was going to give you a gift certificate to a spa so you could be pampered on your birthday, but somehow all you got from him was a new ironing board.

Let’s hope no one visiting this blog received the most tone-deaf Valentine’s Day gift I’ve heard of: a pre-planned funeral arrangement!

Our Father in Heaven knows how to give good gifts to His children, but He doesn’t always answer our requests in exactly the way we expected.

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The God of More Than Enough

Photo by Jenny Porter on Pixabay

In recipes, a teaspoonful of an ingredient doesn’t always mean a level teaspoon.

It can be “heaping,” meaning generous enough to form a heap on top, or “scant,” which means barely coming up to the rim of the spoon.

Likewise, a recipe might call for you to press down the brown sugar in a measuring cup so that it’s “packed.” Or it might instruct you to use only a “pinch” of a spice.

But the measures God uses are always generous. The blessings and grace He bestows on us are never meagre or paltry, but plentiful and abundant.

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Blessings of the Barren Season

Looking out the window here at The Faith Cafe, I notice that the deciduous trees in the park have dropped almost all of their leaves by now.

It’s always sad to have to say goodbye to the autumn leaves, isn’t it? When the last one has fallen, you’re left with a sense of loss, because you know you’re heading into the barren season of winter.

But a funny thing happens when a tree has lost its leaves: you can now see things that you didn’t know were there before.

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