I was reading my daily chronological bible yesterday and read Psalm 122:6-7 “Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces.” Me: Lord. I pray for peace in Jerusalem. I forget to pray for Jerusalem because I don’t really think about them. Help me to love Jerusalem. Remind me to love them. Maybe I should go visit there in person so that I will remember. But I do pray now for peace and prosperity for them.
This is why I like to read the Bible regularly. Otherwise, I completely forget these things that you want us to pray for. I don’t even remember my own prayers half of the time.
10 years or so ago I attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma. Durant is known as the City of Magnolias and even has an annual Magnolia Festival. I was in my very early days as a new Christian convert when I attended there. You know, when it feels like you are walking on heavenly clouds just because you woke up that morning. I distinctly remember sitting between classes one day under the most beautiful magnolia trees reading the Bible and listening to the wind between the tree branches. It felt as though God constantly showed His love to me. I saw Him in everything. The sun would hit between the large trees and the light would flicker off the leaves. It was like heaven’s glitter; so peaceful, beautiful and amazing. I told God that I wanted a magnolia tree in my backyard. They reminded me of God and of how I felt sitting on that park bench. I bought a photo of magnolia and had fake magnolias in a pretty vase in my bedroom. But, I never planted one in my backyard.
10 years and 2 home moves later, I forget that I even liked magnolia trees at one time. Life got busy and very demanding. There are no longer thoughts of magnolias in my life. I have completely redecorated our new house and the old poster and flowers are gone and the new arrangements are on display. Heck, the girl that sat under that magnolia tree 10 years ago and prayed that prayer is pretty much gone. She’s moved, is remarried, works full time, and is busy with life demands. Honestly, until I saw those blooms yesterday, I had completely forgotten about the old me that used to sit on that park bench under those magnolia trees.
But there having coffee yesterday was God’s reminder. Right out in the open view from my bedroom window in the backyard of the home we bought 2 years ago. The magnolia blooms on the tree in our backyard. The funny part is that I did not even know it was a magnolia tree when we moved in. There were no blooms and all the trees were small dwarf type trees. I didn’t even know small magnolia trees existed. But God did, and He did it. He remembered that prayer and put those magnolia trees there just for me. I just know it. Not because I deserved them and not because I am great, but because of who He is and how great He is. 10 years ago when I said “Lord, I want a magnolia tree in my backyard someday”, He answered that prayer. I forgot about that prayer, but God didn’t. And actually, God put two of them back there. He always seems to give me a double portion of blessing like that. Who knew that magnolia blooms could stir up so many memories and thoughts?
We were at life group Wednesday night and Mr. Lock spoke up and said that when he had returned to Christ, he used to see God in everything that he heard and saw. When he read a billboard he could see God in it. When he heard a song or listened to the radio, he heard God in that. But now, over time, it’s like he doesn’t see or hear God in the small things anymore.
Jeff spoke up and said that a dear mentor of his put it this way: when you first move into a home near the railroad tracks, it’s all you can see and hear. But within a couple of years, you don’t even hear it or feel the shaking anymore. You get used to it. And so is our walk with God.
During the honeymoon phase, we see and hear God in everything. But over time we get used to it. For just a moment, I want to embrace the magnolia blooms. God’s heavenly bouquet. The flowers that He personally brought me this morning just to show me His love.
And Lord, forgive me for forgetting my prayers from long ago. I’m sure you have answered many and I failed to thank you for them and probably didn’t even notice. I am sure there are days when I treat you like a spouse and fail to thank you for all the little things that you do in my life that make such a big difference.
Thank you Dad for all the little things. And help me notice you, once again, like I used to when our relationship was new.