The photo above is from Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio's Instagram. Over the past year and a half Ricky Rubio has experienced a lot of loss. Not only as a member of the Timberwolves, but in more consequential parts of life. First on October 25th 2015 his Coach and good friend Flip Saunders past away from Hodgkin's Lymphoma (A beautiful story about the life and impact of Flip Saunders can be read here via the StarTribune). A few months later Rubio also lost his mother. To add to the grief, just recently, in the middle of January, Rubio's grandmother passed away.
Loss is hard, but hard times offer opportunity for life refection. I saw Ricky Rubio's instagram post and I found it comforting to see a million dollar athlete who had experienced so much loss, sharing such an undeniably special moment with a child. When trial comes it's hard sometimes to see the good in the world. The little things are key.
In my personal bible study, I recently felt inexplicably drawn to read the book of Ecclesiastes. Based on my struggles with negativity, it seemed odd that I would be drawn to this book, but nonetheless it was enlightening.
The concept if Ecclesiastes in my assessment is the, "In everything turn turn turn", idea. There's a time for everything and in all things there's not much meaning. At first thinking of that seems hopeless. If everything is futile what is the point of anything?
But one of the most eye opening ideas in this book is the encouragement to be present. Because Solomon has seen the full extent of human ambition. Because he knows deep down that in the grand scheme of things he can't become big enough to rival the rest of the world or God. He concludes, in his wisdom that there is a lot of good in enjoying life:
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 The Message (MSG)
Make the Most of What God Gives18-20 After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.
Life is God's gift. Everything in life is God's gift.
I have lived much of the last handful of years of my life stuck in my brain, fighting through the spirals and darkness of my thoughts. Within the toil, within the everyday, it is essential to find enjoyment. God is glorified when we enjoy the gifts he's given. He is honored when we acknowledge the small beauties of his creation.
Even when life is hard, when tragedy sets in, when there's pain and darkness, God's promises are sure and his gifts are good. Small things are not small in significance. The idea that "God deals out joy in the present, the now," is key to plugging into God. As people of Christ's body we must come to grips with the promises of God. He has been faithful, and our faith in the now must have that at it's foundation. I'm not certain if this is the rational for Ricky Rubio's focus on seeing the blessings of life, but or me, to be alert to the small things is to be plugged into the moment. This is when we see the gritty truths about the world. We see the realness within the people who surround us. We can see Christ in the face of a stranger. We can see a moment where we can encourage a child or make a elderly person laugh.
God's call doesn't forget the small. Sometimes following God seems like one big step and one that is too hard to do. In reality, it's a lot of little choices. I aim now, to enjoy life's small things. The subtle tastes I enjoy, the colors in the sky, the rich smell of nature, and the sensation of an embrace, are all gifts. Let us all enjoy them so that we can fully grasp the depth of the love of our God. Scripture tells us in 1 John 3:1, of "the great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
Psalm 36:5-6 The Message (MSG)5-6 God’s love is meteoric,
his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
his verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness
nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
slips through the cracks.
This is good. Let is live a life with eyes and senses open to the small things and the little blessings. If our eyes are open to those, shouldn't the great love God lavishes be that much more evident?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Sometimes you feel so far away from me. Lord, thank You for this renewed understanding of Your identity as a good Father who gives good gifts. Lord, open my eyes to the works of your hand. Open the eyes to the gifts that you give me daily. Father, I thank You for your faithfulness now, and I open my heart to receiving the Love you have for me that is made clear by the out pouring of little blessings.