She has observed on numerous occasions that I practically melt when I hear wind chimes. As an example, a couple of summers ago we were dashing through a garden shop to pick up some bedding plants for her garden, and I was arrested by a display of several wind chimes of varying sizes and shapes. She patiently stood by while I played with them and sampled their sounds. She didn’t attempt to discourage me or hurry me. She even feigned interest by asking which one I liked most.
Then we continued on to the bedding plants.
Imagine my astonishment when—months later on my birthday—I opened a set of chimes which she had secretly ordered and kept hidden. WOW! Not only had she remembered the model I favored in the store; she also researched them online and found a less expensive source, AND had them delivered in time for my birthday celebration. I had been clueless about her scheme, and was truly amazed at its revelation.
For a while they hung outside our dining room window in the back yard (photo above). But we could only hear them when we were at the table or in the yard. So we moved them to the front of the house. Now we can hear them throughout our home, and especially when we’re in our bedroom, tucked in cozily for the night.
The past few days have been windy, and I’ve been hearing the chimes a lot. Each time I hear them I receive pleasure from the sound. More than that, I am also reminded of my wife’s love for me. That one-time gift keeps on giving! Thank you again, Judy, for the chimes, for the soothing sounds they provide, and for the love they represent, which you express each day in many ways. The gift of giving doesn’t only for one another, but can also be shared with those outside of our home. Some of us find giving to our churches can be helpful to those that need it, nowadays we can even give through online giving as a way of reaching others.
Every time I hear my chimes (usually accompanied by a sigh—insert eye roll, I’m such a sap!) I am reminded that I am truly loved. In the same way, each time I celebrate communion at church; each time I see a cross; each time I contemplate God’s Word; I am reminded of His love for me. I don’t often sigh, but those who serve communion will attest to my hearty “Amen!” when I receive the elements.
God’s Love: A Gift of Love that Keeps on Giving
It truly is wonderful to be loved by my wife who knows me so well. It is infinitely more wonderful to be loved by my Savior and Lord, who knows me perfectly, even more than my wife (scary thought!). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). How amazing is that?!
The apostle Paul wrote that when we celebrate the Lord’s supper, we should likewise REMEMBER His love:
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Corinthians 11:23-26, emphasis mine).
I remember instruction I received in my youth that Lent (a season of preparing our hearts for Easter) can be a time of self-sacrifice. The phrase “gave it up for Lent” may be culturally maligned, but as I understand it, when I choose to give something up (e.g. fast from a particular food, or pass up pleasure) and experience the resulting loss or longing or desire—when I miss that which I have given up—it can serve as a reminder of all that was done on my behalf when Christ died on the cross. It can be a reminder to pray and thank God for all He has done in my life. It is symbolic, yes, and doesn’t add anything to my salvation. It is certainly NOTHING compared to what Jesus experienced on the cross and in the events leading up to it. It does, however, bring into my experience for the forty days leading up to Easter that it was a sacrifice. It reminds me how easy it is to lose sight of the magnitude of His love expressed on the cross, especially when I get caught up in the details of daily life.
May I ever be mindful that His gift, given “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10) continues to give each day, and will continue giving throughout eternity. May I also be mindful in my ministry here at FaithSearch, that “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In fact, as Paul wrote, “the love of Christ compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14) to “implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). That’s why we do what we do here.
Further, the sacrifices I make in order to be a part of this team are NOTHING compared to what He gave up for me (Philippians 3:8); nor do they hold a candle what is in store:
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
THANK YOU for your interest in my ministry, for it also REMINDS ME of your love for me and for our Lord. Let me know how I can be praying for you, because I do.
* NOTE: See the chimes in action in a one-minute video, in which I shook the stand to encourage their sound. For a more realistic representation of what we hear at home, here is a thirteen minute recording (audio only) when I just put the recorder in front of the chimes and walked away. (It also includes other backyard sounds, like the trash truck and nearby doors.) For the full experience, here is a forty-five minute audio recording which you can play in the background while you do other things—like reading the rest of this post. It’s very relaxing!