I sat on my screened-in porch, taken aback with the beauty of the morning surrounding me.
A layer of mist rose from the serene waters of the lake and hovered just above the surface. Rays of light slanting in from the east elongated shadows that all too soon would stand at attention in the noonday sun.
Pampas grass plumes praised their Creator with a gentle sway.
I held a steamy cup of coffee in my hand and placed my Bible on my lap. As if on cue, as had been our routine for the past several weeks, a visitor hopped from the shrubbery and onto the night-cooled patio. “Good morning, Peter,” I cooed to the little brown bunny I’d watched grow since early spring. “And how are you today?” I just love bunnies, I mused.
Peter skipped and jumped from bush to bush, and kicked up his heels like an Irishman ready to meet the day. As usual, he stopped right in front of the porch and blinked his big brown eyes as if to say hello. Just as I was enjoying watching my furry friend, he hopped over to a flower pot, stood up on his hind legs, and yanked a rather large stem of petunia from the plant.
“Good grief,” I moaned. “Stop that!” Bounding down the steps, I came face-to-face with the wrascally wrabbit. “Stop eating my flowers,” I warned. “Get out of here. Shoo.”
Apparently, the bunny didn’t see me as much of a threat. He didn’t budge, but continued munching away with a petunia hanging out of his mouth. I could have touched him if I’d wanted.
“I mean it,” I continued. “Shoo.” It wasn’t until I clapped my hands several times that Peter scampered behind the bush to finish up his breakfast.
Back on the porch, I grabbed my lukewarm coffee and placed my Bible back on my lap. It wasn’t long before a dainty hummingbird buzzed up to the hummingbird feeder just outside the screen. I watched in amazement as its wings fluttered and it hovered in midair. Iridescent colors of green and blue glistened in the sun. “I just love hummingbirds,” I whispered.
No sooner had the thought entered my head than a second hummingbird dive-bombed the first. A fight quickly ensued. Beak to beak, they battled for their terrain. Right jab. Left stab.
“Guys, stop it,” I pled as if they cared. “There are six perches and enough nectar for the entire country. Good grief!” And as quickly as they had appeared, they were gone.
Taking a sip from my now cold coffee, I tried once again to concentrate on my open Bible. But then I saw our heron approaching. A beautiful heron lives on our lake and occasionally he passes our way. I marveled at his long legs pointing behind him and his slender beak leading the way. With exaggerated movements, he slowly flapped his magnificent blue-gray wings and glided before me. But then, like a Boeing 747 with a leak in the fuselage, a stream of poo fell from the bird and made a trail in the yard.
“Good grief,” I moaned for the third time in one day.
Back to the Bible. As I tried to concentrate, God began speaking to my heart about what I had seen. Are you willing to take the bad with the good? He seemed to say.
“What do You mean, Lord?” I questioned.
You love bunnies, but they eat your plants. You love hummingbirds, but they constantly fight. You love the heron, but he makes a mess in your yard. Are you willing to take the bad with the good?
“Well, yes. I am willing to take the good with the bad. I love Your creatures!”
What about people? He seemed to continue. If you are willing to take the bad with the good with mere animals, are you willing to take the bad with the good in people created in My image?
“That’s not funny, God,” I argued.
It’s not meant to be.
And then, as God so often does in my life, His silence left me to think about it.
I began to think about people in my life I have rejected or relationships I have walked away from because of annoying behavior or emotional messiness.
It seems I was willing to take the bad with the good with God’s furry feathery creatures, but when it came to people created in God’s image…not so much.
God is a Master at taking the bad with the good, whether dealing with David the adulterer, Jacob the liar, Peter the doubter, or the woman I look at in the mirror every day. God sees the best and the worst in us and loves us just the same.
So here’s the question for you today. Are you willing to take the bad with the good? Are you willing to overlook the annoying behavior of others and embrace their positive qualities instead? I’m going to leave you to think about it the way God’s silence left me to think about it…but first, leave a comment and say, “I’m willing,” if you’re ready to take the bad with the good.