Surprises and Smiles

It has been a full first two weeks of training here at the MARK Centre in Abbotsford, BC. We have been learning about hearing God’s voice this last week and concluded the week with a 48 hour silent retreat. 48 hours of silence with you and God. Surrounded by fellow TREKers, but not allowed to talk or communicate. Can you imagine a silent diner table? How about a silent bedroom shared with your husband? For me it was awkward, but Kyle didn’t think so…
I spent a lot of time in a nearby park or on the lawn enjoying nature. One afternoon before supper I was sitting outside reviewing my memory verses and watching squirrels – specifically a grey one who carried a nut bigger than his head. He scurried up a tree to the end of a branch where he stowed it, then scurried back down the tree to the other side of the chain link fence near me. Then a smaller black squirrel came through the fence with a nut. I guess it was a nut the grey one wanted because all of a sudden the grey one shot after the black one, through the fence, up a tree, over branches to the nearby tree and back down again across the lawn. They made quite the ruckus. I almost laughed out loud at the sight. I wanted to get Justin’s attention who was sitting nearby and tell him about what I just saw. But we were in silence, so I kept the little surprise to myself. I know the grey squirrel was probably irate, but I imagined it as a picture of God chasing me – up and over, down and across. Anything to get me to give him my heart.
My next surprise came at supper. The squirrel chase put a smile on my face that didn’t fade. In silence, one of the interns scooted a mug of fruit towards me, indicating I should have it. Underneath the pineapple, banana and apple was another surprise. CHOCOLATE CAKE! I had been craving desert for several days now and the chocolate cake, though simple and ridiculous for me to be so excited about, made me smile all the more.
After supper, I was anxious to get out and walk, as I had been sitting and sleeping most of the day. I came to the park asking God to surprise me again. I found a good spot overlooking the pond in the park and as I became still before God, I began to be gladdened by nature. First, two ducks crossed the pond a ways away. As the female fell behind, the male came back to get her and lead her through the lilly pads. Then the surround-sound effect of birds calling to each other across the pond. One close by the other on the far side. Then a strange looking duck literally ran across the pond and as I watched, it dove under the lilly pads, coming up with bugs several seconds later. Four happy sparrows cheeped in the thorn bushes, and as I sat quietly, they flew from one side of me to the other. Two mallard ducks drifted across the pond and hung out near by me.
I found peace there. I was still and saw God in his creation. It’s been a while since I have been still in creation. It was almost as though I was a part of them. I dared not move.
“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations.”
God was exalted today. Through a squirrel fight, chocolate cake, funny looking ducks, and flitting sparrows.

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