Without taking her eyes off whatever had mesmerized her, Dianne said, “Don’t move! Just look over your shoulder.”
Now those are not the first contradictory commands I’ve heard from my wife of 35 years, but I could tell something had caught her eye. As directed, I craned my neck ever-so-slowly so as to be able to see over my shoulder.
That’s when I saw what had captured her attention.
Two of them perched atop one of the big paddles of the ceiling fan on our back porch.
Now you have to understand. Doves have appeared in the oddest places at the most opportune times in our lives. To recount the times might cause you to think I was spinning a yarn.
To Dianne, they have always been significant signs of God’s favor in sometimes catastrophic moments of life. Like the one that returned to Noah with an olive branch at a time when he had to be really tired of the Ark. (Genesis 8:11)
This most recent time was just another point of deep pain and desperate need when God seemed to do the smallest thing that made the biggest difference. In the chapters of your life-story when you can’t see the end of the road and your tunnel feels like a cave, God is prone to drop tiny treasures into your hands.
Think of Ruth. In a dark season of loss and need when grief and hunger were overwhelming, Boaz instructed his reapers to “pull out some heads of barley…and drop them on purpose for her.” (Ruth 2:16).
I love how the King James translates it, they were to drop “handfuls on purpose.”
God seems pleased to do the same for us. Dropping little bits of comfort, encouragement, joy, or peace to keep us hoping, believing, expecting and moving.
Handfuls of hope.
“God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him; God is great because nothing is too small for Him.” –Mark Batterson, Circle Maker
It is easy to believe nothing is too big for God, but much harder to trust that nothing is too small for Him. But the Father Jesus always told us about is a master of minutiae as well as Lord of the universe.
This God is one that notes when sparrows fall from the sky or hair falls from the scalp. By the way, for us bald guys, that is comfort! (Matthew 10:29-31)
He is a God who clothes unremarkable lilies and feeds unemployed ravens.
“And how much more valuable are you than birds!” (Luke 12:22-28)
One of my favorite stories of God’s tiny treasures is Jonah’s shrub. In his darkest depths of depression Jonah didn’t understand God’s timing or design. He sat down in a make-shift lean-to and gave up.
But “then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant.” (Jonah 4:5-6)
Now I know that worms at the plant and Jonah had to move on, but it is the fact that in the moment when Jonah felt lost and alone, a big God sent a little gift that helped Jonah believe again.
Like Dianne’s doves.
As we have walked through the sudden loss of dearly-loved family members and the extended season watching the decline of her mother, Dianne and I know the weariness that comes from delayed answers and disappointing results.
Just when our souls felt worn and weary, our God chose a familiar sign to demonstrate that He is close and connected.
When you are in…
- a waiting season
- a worrying moment
- a wandering time
- a warring place
…those little gifts are just enough to stir your faith in a with-you God.
He is pleased to drop handfuls on purpose in your path. Enough seed to sprout faith in moments where you’ve lost track of hope and home.
Ours is a big God who delights in giving little gifts to His hurting children so they can cling to survivor’s faith…
“the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)