A Place Prepared

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SWIM. This is cheating, but in response I’m going to post a devotional article I wrote some years ago, back when I was keeping a betta fish.

Image by Rebecca Lehman — Pixabay

A Place Prepared

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

Alphie was a millet-brained betta fish. What did he know? His one-gallon fish bowl was the only world he’d ever experienced and he was content there. He had no clue that there could be a better environment, or that I was preparing one for him.

I’d learned that betta fish deserve a better environment than a fish bowl, so I was setting up a proper ten-gallon aquarium where he could enjoy life to the full. He’d have a heater and filter to keep his water fresh and pure. Bliss, betta style.

But this preparation couldn’t happen overnight. An aquarium needs to go through a nitrogen cycle to develop the right kind of bacteria in the filter so it will purify the water passing through. Alphie’s new home sat on the counter for over a month as it went through this cycle; during this time I added driftwood and various ornaments that would make his new world so much more interesting. Meanwhile he circled round and round in his little fish bowl, relaxed in the world he knew.

Then one day his new home was ready for him. I set his bowl beside the tank, then scooped him out in a small ladle. Now he was really confined! And scared, too; he squirmed and fought this new situation. Just a little fish; he couldn’t comprehend the big picture, or imagine a place where he could swim to his heart’s content.

Though the transfer was uncomfortable and confusing for him, it was accomplished quickly. I placed him in his new tank and his delight was obvious. So much room! So many interesting things to explore. Constant warmth and pure water. For a little fish this was paradise!

Most of us are fairly happy in this world. Some content, some not so content in our little lives, but it’s the only space we’ve ever known. Like my betta, we’re not very willing to leave it. For sure we’re not enthused about being carried out in a small box! Our comprehension of what waits on the other side is so limited.

Unlike my little fish, however, we can know God’s plans for us. Jesus has revealed them to His followers; by faith we can believe His words. He has prepared a place for a people who have prepared themselves: those who have placed their faith in his promises and their lives in his will.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14: 2-3

And we can rejoice like the Psalmist:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23:6

A Strange and Beautiful Flower

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SLEEP

My replay will be this poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
As I read this, I thought what a wonderful short story this could give! 🙂

WHAT IF YOU SLEPT ?

What if you slept
And what if
In your sleep
You dreamed
And what if
In your dream
You went to heaven
And there plucked a strange
and beautiful flower

And what if
When you awoke
You had that flower in you hand
Ah, what then?

As We Grow Older

Not knowing who wrote the poem I posted yesterday, I meant to put “Author Unknown” at the bottom. This morning I’ve corrected that little omission, also searched for the first line to see if Mr Google could help me out again.

I discovered another version — I’m thinking this is probably the original. And a sobering thought for a Sunday morning.

As We Grow Older

A little more tired at the close of the day;
a little less anxious to have our own way;
a little less ready to scold and blame;
a little more care of a brother’s name;
and so we are nearing the journey’s end,
where time and eternity meet and blend.
And so we are faring a-down the way
that leads to the gates of a better way
A little more laughter, a few more tears,
and we shall have told our increasing years.
The book is closed and the prayers are said,
and we are part of the countless dead.
and so we are going where all must go,
to the place the living may never know.
Thrice happy if then some soul can say,
I’m better because he passed my way.

Rollin J Wells

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ROLLIN J. WELLS, of the Wells & Blackman law firm,
Sioux Falls, SD, was born 1848 in IL; died 1923 in Sioux Falls.

Song for My Brother

I wrote this article twenty-some years ago and stashed away a hard copy. Now as I’m digging around in my “filed and forgotten” I came across it.

I Dreamed of My Brother

Early one morning I had a dream. I dreamed that I was walking along a path and I came upon a man sitting and singing a song. I paused to listen to the words and this is what he sang:

Somewhere I have a brother, though his face I’ve never seen,
But in my mind I see him as he walks on hills of green,
and in my heart I love him and I’m going to see him soon…”

As I listened, I realized that this was my song he was singing, one I had written about my little brother who died some hours after birth, when I was three years old. Mom tells me that on the day of his funeral I cried a lot. That I don’t remember, but I do remember the family gathered in the old farmhouse and the little coffin Uncle Tom made sitting on a table, holding the newborn.

Then in my dream I turned around and looked at the horizon. Far off in the distance I could see those hills of green and I could see him walking there. But he was too far away; I couldn’t see his face. I woke up with the melody of that son still ringing in my ears.

Many times over the years I have thought of my little brother. At the time of this dream he was the only one of our family who’d gone on and was waiting for me in Heaven. At times when the going gets rough in this old world below, my thoughts often turn to him waiting up there. I don’t want to disappoint them by losing out. I don’t want him to be the only one of us who made it to heaven.

Years have passed since I had that dream. My niece. Barb, and others in the family have joined him up on those hills of green. Now I often think of those waiting and pray that I can join that family circle on those green hills.

“Out on the hills of that wonderful country,
happy contented and free
loved ones are waiting and watching our coming.
Heaven holds all to me.”

As I went about my work the next morning my mind was still on the words of that song. I decided to adapt it with more of a thought for today. Here’s my “earthly” version:

Somewhere I Have a Brother

Somewhere I have a brother though his face I have not seen
but in my mind I see him as he walks through fields of green
and in my heart I pray for him as I go along my way,
that we can both be faithful so I’ll meet him some glad day.

Somewhere I have a brother though his face I’ve never seen,
for he lives quite far from me with an ocean in between;
and in my heart I love him, for the Father’s love we share,
and I’m sure he’s also praying for his brothers everywhere.

Somewhere I have a brother and I almost see his face,
for just like me he’s part of this global human race;
just like me he cries when hurt and laughs when life is fun
and just like me he’s tired when his working day is done.

Somewhere I have a brother and his hopes are just like mine:
to have a home in Heaven when we reach the end of time;
to be among the faithful when the Saviour’s face we see. (Judgment throne we see)
Somewhere I have a brother and I think he’s just like me.

Memory

by Edgar Guest

And if I shall remember
the tulips of the spring,
the Christmas each December
the songs the children sing,
their bits of merry laughter
which meant so much to me,
that’s all in that hereafter
I’ll keep in memory.

I do not ask to go there
with boastful tales to tell;
I’d like to have them know there
this life I’ve loved so well.
I would recall a few things
my eyes rejoiced to see,
the tender and the true things
which brightened life for me.

And shall I wake from sleeping
to face eternity
but these I would be keeping
of earthly memory;
but these I would remember:
the songs the children sing
the Christmas each December,
the tulips in the spring.

From the Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company