Almighty Creator of All Life,

By Your Amazing Grace, we can find joy — and meaning — everywhere we look.  And I mean, everywhere!

Like in my own yard.  In the “game” I have been playing for the last few days.

Raccoons / Squirrels = 5.  Me = 1.  That’s the latest score, at least so far.  The playing field is our side yard.  The “points” are avocadoes.  The “game” is to see who can get (and eat) the most ripe ones.

It isn’t exactly an even match.  I may have those critters on size, but they vastly outnumber me.  And in this game, numbers count. (No pun intended!)  🙂

Strategy does, too.  They seem to have adopted their own version of the “end run.”  They bite into the avocadoes just enough while they are sill on the tree (out of my reach) so that when they fall, I will turn up my nose in disgust.  That strategy worked for awhile, until I realized I could still salvage a “keeper” with a well-placed knife.  My goal is avocadoes.  I guess that’s when I became a “goal keeper.”  (Pun intended!)  🙂

It has been said that “All’s fair in love and war.”  This certainly isn’t love, so I guess that means it’s WAR.  At least, that’s how my competition is acting!  They send in wave after wave of players (a.k.a., storm troopers?!) from their very deep bench.  A wise coach once said, “We can’t outrun them, so we have to outsmart them.”

The same is true in life sometimes… isn’t it, Lord?  Except that, in life, there’s only one “prize” really worth having.  We need to keep our eyes on that prize, train for that “game” and give it everything we’ve got.  We can always outsmart the competition… if (when) we listen to The Coach.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”  (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)

These avocadoes are delicious, Lord!  And I am grateful for those You have let me “score” against these formidable competitors!  But the bigger Game? Now that’s a “game” worth really getting my teeth into!  🙂

This avocado tree means much more to me than even this, thanks to You, Lord.  This scrawny, lightning-struck, hurricane-ravaged tree.  It’s the one You miraculously caused to produce a supernaturally-abundant harvest the very year I was traveling with You through the Valley of the Shadow.  I was on virtual “home exile” for eight months, through surgeries and chemo… soaking in Your Living Water.  That Living Water was so real, it caused this scrawny unfertilized tree to produce more avocadoes in one year than in any other year, before or since.

Now, like then, this is a Tree of Hope.  You are the Gardener.  You specialize in Miracle Grow.  I hold onto that today… and am filled with Unquenchable JOY!!!

“You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent.  Lord my God, I will praise You forever.”  (Psalm 30:11-12)

Abba’s Girl

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