Did I mention our new house has nine trees? Actually there are ten. Yesterday I counted one more; it's stuffed up against the house a bit, so you can understand why I missed it before. So yeah, ten trees.
If you're from home in New York, you probably have acres of wood in your backyard or at least within walking distance, so ten trees sound like a prairie to you. But for a Texan, well, it's a forest out there. We can hang a clothesline, two hammocks, and from the branches too, if we want. It's that sort of wild out there. Appreciate with me for a moment please.
It's been over a year, really, since I've asked for anything. When I left New York I made a pact with God and I didn't take it lightly: God, I won't ask you for anything if you'll just show me your glory. That's it. That's all I want. I'll eat the bread of poverty, drink the water of deprivation if I need to, just don't pass me by.
And He didn't.
But He showed His glory to me in unexpected ways: namely by not answering the myriads of prayers I've prayed in the past. I mean, categorically, I can go down through the things I've asked for in the past years, things I've agonized over, lists I've made, and requests I've made known. I was the persistent widow and He was not the righteous judge. But it wasn't because He didn't want to give me what I wanted.
It was because I didn't know what I wanted.
The other night a few friends were over and near the end of the evening, when the numbers dwindled and the glasses were emptied, one asked me a question: what do you want? I should have been ready for the question, I should have had an answer, but I stumbled, I fumbled, I scrambled for words. And the next day I realized why: I didn't know what I wanted.
It's not that I haven't thought about it in the past or known what I wanted at some point. It's just that, right now, I have everything I never knew I wanted and am all the happier for it.
When I moved here, I moved into a flat ranch house in the suburbs, we had three shrubs and a holly bush. I didn't dare ask for more.
And now, on the flip side, when I think about all God has given to me and done in me, trees are what I'm telling you about. Trees? Trees!
Because here's something God loves to do: surprise us.
Because here's something about God: He's never surprised by what we deep down inside really want.