Psalm 104:27-30

They all look to you to give them their food in due season.

When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.

Reflection – Doug Bradle

I am a big James Herriot fan. If you have not read any of his books I will tell you that that they are filled with wonderful stories about his life as a veterinarian in the Yorkshire mountains in northeastern England starting in 1937. Each of his major books start with a poem by Cecil Frances Alexander:

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.

I understand now that God made this beautiful world for us and us for Him. My parents were elementary school teachers and had the summers off. They took my brother and I to the Berkshire mountains in southern Massachusetts to a summer camp that their friends owned. We would go up right after school let out and stay until Labor Day every year. It was there that my love of nature and the outdoors formed. I learned so many things there: how to swim, ride horseback, hike and camp, to canoe, cook hot dogs over a campfire and even how to shoot a .22 rifle at the camp shooting range. Looking back, like the song says: I think to myself, “what a wonderful world.” Although I did not realize it until much later, God was walking with me every step of the way. How blessed I was and am today.

Remember, Doug, that the Giver of my perfect provision is God Himself. Without Him I am nothing. When I turn to my own ways I am cut off from all the blessings He has for me and for all of us. It is only when I to ask for His will to be done in my life, each day that I live, that He can impart the grace, strength, peace and contentment I so desperately need. I had to be broken and spend many years with internal suffering before I was willing to give up my ways and learn how to live by His principles. Pain is the touchstone to all spiritual growth and with Him my pain is transformed in joyful living.