The Crowded Kindnesses of God
God isn’t just in life’s monumental things. He’s present in the little things: rain drops, the artistry of spider webs, and the sound of an acoustic guitar. A child’s laugh, surfing songs, a swing set, sprinklers, and the smell of split cedar. Colorful birds and fish. Stars that declare God’s glory. Little League, skiing, ping pong, hot showers, a slam dunk, Disneyland. Maple syrup, fresh green beans, buttermilk biscuits, and homemade strawberry jam. Aspirin, artificial limbs, wheel chairs, and synthetic insulin (I can’t live without it). Ripe oranges straight off the tree. Pecan pie a la mode, chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven and a tall glass of cold milk (in my case, this would require a lot more insulin). A good recliner, the smell of leather upholstery, and a dog’s wagging tail.
If we disregard these and thousands of other gifts, we don’t just fail to notice them, we fail to notice God. God’s goodness is always evident if we look in the right place. “[H]e is actually not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27-28).
Alexander Maclaren advised, “Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life.”
One of my Bible college professors often used illustrations of Christ’s presence in the small events of his day. I asked myself why those things didn’t happen to me. God showed me they did—I just hadn’t noticed!
If we fail to see God’s “crowded kindnesses,” it’s not because they’re lacking but because we’re blind.
In a letter to his wife Elisabeth, Jim Elliot observed, “Amy Carmichael writes of little joys, like flowers springing up by the path unnoticed except by those who are looking for them. . . . Little things, like a quietly sinking sun, a friendly dog, a ready smile. We sang a little song in kindergarten which I’ve never forgotten: ‘The world is so full of a number of things / I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.’ Simple, but such a devastating rebuke to the complaining heart. I am impressed with the joy that is ours in Christ, so that heaven above and earth below become brighter and fairer.”