“Remember that the LORD your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years…”

(Deuteronomy 8:2a HCSB)Image

I have prayed God’s own words back to Him as my birthday wish: that I might “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:18 NIV)

Not for a moment did I suspect that His answer would come in the surprising form of this graceful family tree, weaving and reaching its sap-filled branches all the way down the garden path to my door.

Their love, it is wide enough to envelop these beloved neighbours into the fold and to interlace branches with my own family’s sweet boughs; it’s long enough to reach forward into the shadowed not-yet, for the tendrils of children unfurling over the fields; it is high enough to worship the One for Whom we are made and to laugh like crazy over the stories we tell and retell; deep enough to reach back through the years (we re-enact photos from my father-in-law’s 40th year: I remember the security of my own father’s side and the peanuts in a bowl and the smooth verandah floor…).

This love is surprising.

I should not be surprised.

It comes from the Father Himself, “from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.”  (Eph. 3:15):

Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott

A mighty fortress indeed.  I testify:

“He has watched over your journey through this immense wilderness.  The LORD your God has been with you this past 40 years, and you have lacked nothing.” (Deuteronomy 2:7 HCSB).

Thank You Jesus.  You are my Promised Land.