I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
I am a wealthy woman.
Of course, I am American and as such am a member of an affluent society. It is true that I have a house that does not (often) leak, a vehicle that runs, food on the table every day (not to mention the table itself), clean water, and enough clothing for each member of my family. This alone is nearly incomprehensible wealth to so many, and I am exceedingly thankful for every bit of it. However, these things are not the riches that filled my heart with joy this past weekend, spilling over into praise for my God. Indeed, while these earthly riches are most excellent, I count my true fortune in the sheer joy of undeserved salvation, the splendor and majesty of my King and His creation, and the precious fellowship of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
It all started early on Friday with a field trip to a local farm. It was a glorious fall day, and I was struck both by the beauty of the area I live in and the plenitude of good friends to share in it. I recalled a time when I was friendless; alone and mired in despair so dense that I could see nothing but hopelessness. I was blind, and it was here that God found me and began to do a work in my heart, replacing self-loathing and self-focus with love and adoration of Him, healing my blindness and helping me to see the Truth that would set me free, teaching me to be a friend to others and so finding myself abundantly blessed with friendship in return.
Later that afternoon, my family met other friends for a portrait swap–we took their family pic and they took ours. I had more moments of amazement at the resplendence of Creation, more reveling in the immensity of my family in Christ. The contrast to the spiritual poverty of the old me was stunning.
The next day brought still more treasure; still more awareness of the fingerprints of the Almighty upon His creation as we took a scenic drive to a natural area. Saturday also brought to mind the delight in being a part of the Body of Christ as I photographed a brother and his soon-to-be bride, trying to capture the thrill of their new love against the backdrop of our Father’s world.
Sunday followed–a day of worship, of talking about the riches of God’s grace to some of my very smallest friends. Afterward was another celebration for a child who used to be in my Sunday class and had just turned five — a dual celebration for me as I watched my 10- and 11-year-old daughters value their little friend as much as they value their peers.
Monday was back to the daily grind, but still I marveled at the astonishing provision God has granted for me to be able to home school. I have stopped worrying about where the money for curriculum will come from, for He has always faithfully provided what we need to fulfill His calling. Besides the financial elements, He has also provided patience beyond my own lot, conviction to repent openly when my flesh takes over and my own patience snaps, the ability to teach when teaching is not my gift, all the while teaching me to rely completely on Him—and that He is completely reliable.
But there was more to our Monday. It ended with yet another party. A little friend, now four years old, had fought and won a long battle against cancer just over a year ago. The Make A Wish Foundation is now gifting her and her family with a trip to Disney that would otherwise be far beyond their meager means, especially with finances complicated by those many months battling cancer and the continuing medical expense of another daughter with spina bifida. It was such fun to see all the kids who had prayed so diligently for this sweet girl now able to come together and rejoice in her good fortune. I found myself awash in a swirling tide of childish exuberance, laughing and enjoying the celebration with her parents, loving that they still had this child with them to take to Disney.
Today the various parties are over. But I find that I still have merrymaking in my heart — loving my brothers and sisters, worshiping my God who walks with us through trials and grants us seasons of refreshment and festivity. Even when the memory of these moments fades away, I will worship Him still. Even if somehow all the rest–the breathtaking beauty of nature, the fellowship of friends, the sharing in the joy of others, and the boon of healthy children–even should it all crumble and blow away like ash, the revelry will still continue within.
For even though all of these festivities bring awareness of my non-material opulence, my truest riches are still to be found in Christ alone. He has given, and He may someday take away, yet even if He does, still I will praise Him. He is my portion; He is my wealth.