A few days ago, I attended a funeral for the father of a woman with whom I used to work. This woman's family doesn't live near me, so it was quite a long drive to get to the funeral; the return trip was about 730 kilometres (450 miles). It was an all-day affair to drive there, attend the funeral, spend some time at the reception, and then drive home again. I was quite exhausted by the time I got home.
As I was driving there in the morning, I began to feel a little silly, and wondered why I was even going. I haven't worked with this woman for about a year and a half, and I had never met her father at all. She and I had never been close — just work acquaintances, really — so perhaps she wouldn't care if I was there or not. Her father was a popular man in their small town, so the funeral would likely be quite heavily attended. She might not even notice that I was there at all! I contemplated turning around and going home. But although we'd never been close, she and I had worked in the same office for many years, and over the years, she had done a number of little things for me — small but heartfelt things that had meant a lot to me at the time — so I didn't turn around; I stayed the course, and kept driving.
I arrived in the town, found the church where the funeral was being held, parked the car, and joined the steady stream of mourners entering the sanctuary. The service itself included eulogies from family and friends, including a very moving one written by my former colleague. She didn't see me before or during the service, but I prayed for her and her family, and I hoped that she would feel some comfort from that.
After the service, the reception was well attended, and the hall was very crowded. I finally found the woman that I had come to support, and as she caught my eye, I could see in her face that I had made the right decision. "I just love that you've come," she said. Our whole interaction couldn't have lasted more than a minute or two, and then she was pulled away to speak with someone else. But in the days since then, I have heard from mutual friends that it meant a great deal to this woman that I drove there to support her at a difficult time.
My experience at that funeral makes me wonder again, as I've wondered in the past, whether it's really the little things in life that make the most difference.
Matthew 13:31-32 – He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." (NRSV)
James 3:5 – So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! (NRSV)
Similarly, I sometimes think that we look to God for only the big things in life: solutions to desperate situations, healing for incurable illnesses, resolution to intractable political situations and ancient hatreds. But God is just as much a part of the little things in life. Let's resolve to look for God there also. His beauty and majesty are all around us, if we will but open our eyes and hearts to Him.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for being with us always — for being a part of the whole of our life. While we are grateful that You are with us in times of great difficulty, we know that You are part of the smallest, most seemingly insignificant things in life also. Help us to look for You and to be aware of Your presence in all of our lives. Help us to see You and recognize You in all things — no matter how small. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Under His Wings" (Lyrics)