Up early and uncertain whether I had again gratefully “woken up well”, I walk outside to see the pink sky in the distance, wishing our home was set either on a hill or not bordered by tall trees and houses.
If that were so, I could see the wide morning. Instead, I look upward and the half moon is above me, surrounded by the remnant of two clouds breaking thinly away.
I wished for a different sky. I had hoped the day would bring rain.
A rainy day that could give permission for thinking, make seclusion seem more pleasant.
On this day, nineteen years ago, destruction changed our country, altered our thinking of what could happen.
For years, the color code marking threat bordered our television screens.
For days on end I wondered when it would happen again, certain that it could. Another attack by people who hated us, another planned explosion in places where people congregated.
It could happen again.
For now, there are other “coulds”, the resounding murmuring amongst one another.
Rather than explosion, I sense a subtle threat to our togetherness, I fear we are imploding, a caving in.
Don’t get too close, she may be sick. Don’t touch the door, it could have the viral contaminated touch of someone else. Don’t forget your mask, don’t let your worn out mask shift and uncover your nose.
Don’t hug the friend you encounter that you’ve not seen in years.
You could get sick, you could make others unwell. You could cause pain to others.
This predisposition to high alert stances based on what could happen is much like a phrase I’m just now embracing.
Don’t borrow trouble.
Two hours ago, I woke up too early. I was thirsty and had what my grandma called a “dull” headache. I moved from my bed to the kitchen for water.
Today, I did not pray, “thank you God, I woke up well.”
But, now I am because I was sullenly anticipating dread. I was alert to what could happen because of it happening all around me, inundated with a sense of foreboding,
A man in the Bible, mentioned just a couple of times, Jabez confronted his predisposed “could happens” with a prayer that God answered.
“Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.”
1 Chronicles 4:10 ESV
The mother of Jabez chose his name that meant pain and told him so, of all the brothers, his birth had caused her great pain.
Could it be so for us? That we acknowledge what harms could come our way and simply ask God to prevent them.
Knowing He can?
I’m not so naive to live the fairy tale that all pain can be avoided. This world, our country gets more angry and full of fear and evil every day.
Still, I can open my hand to heaven now and again later and say “Thank you, I am well. It is well. I will not fear. You are near.”
Like Jabez, I can set my intentions on what God can do not what could happen.
I love to think of other choices that could have been made by people in the Bible. Jabez knowing he was least likely to have a life without pain based on his name could have chosen to cower, could have accepted his position among his brothers, to be careful, to fear pain, to prepare for the worst case scenarios and so, to hide away.
He didn’t. He asked God for the ability to see opportunities, to be kept safe in his pursuit of them and to live a life from which we get the phrase, not just blessed; but, blessed indeed.
The purple flowers that seem to be summer withered have sprinkled petals heavy from humidity all along the border.
I bent over to try to see the sunrise in the distance and noticed a new thing.
The scent from the purple bloom. All summer long I’ve walked past and now almost mid-September, my attention was drawn.
The sweet smell of still hanging on, the still tint of soft indigo and lavender, the gift of finding beauty in my subdivided back yard.
The firm decision not to borrow trouble; instead to be aware of it and to ask God to keep me from it.
Then to remember, not knowing how or if or whether it was sudden.
God granted what he asked.
He will for us as well.
This truth I shall remember when I ponder “what could”.
Remember only the possibility of good.
Our lives are not what are circumstances say they are, rather they are what God says “could happen” if we trust Him.
If we continue, continue and believe.
This post was prompted by the word “could” from Five Minute Friday (I link up although I’m rarely five minutes or under in thinking or writing.) Read others’ words here: