The waterfowl hunting season is quickly coming to a close here in north-central California. I truly enjoy being out in nature and partaking in all that California has to offer the outdoor enthusiast. Some of the fondest memories I have of my father are the times he would take me outdoors to a lake to fish, or into the woodlands to go hunting.
On one such occasion, my father and I observed a flock of geese flying overhead.
"Do you see how the geese are flying in a V formation?" my father asked.
"Yes, sir," I responded.
"Can you see how one side of the V is longer than the other side?"
Glancing up for another look, I could indeed tell that one side was longer. Then he asked me, "Do you know why one side is longer than the other?"
"No, sir, I do not know why," I said.
Looking at me with no sign of a smile or even a grin on his face, he said, "It's because one side has more geese in it than the other."
Sometimes the deepest truths are found in the simplest thoughts.
If you have been reading "The Story" and following along with the church families at Ham Lane Church of Christ, Vinewood Community, Temple Baptist, First Baptist and Emanuel Lutheran, you know that we are now more than halfway through the book.
As we enter into Chapter 17, the northern kingdom of Israel is no more. The remnants of those who survived the Assyrian invasion were carried into exile. The two tribes in the southern kingdom of Judah are about to experience a long period of captivity under the oppressive rule of the Babylonian Empire.
It may seem as though all hope is lost. The sin and unfaithfulness of God's chosen people have lead them to suffer great consequences.
However, God's amazing upper story is still at work in the lower story of these two nations. God calls on the prophet Jeremiah to remind His people that God is good, God is faithful and His mercies are neverending. They will still suffer for the consequences of their poor choices, but their great God would bring them back.
There is hope, and through weeping and tears, Jeremiah proclaims, "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:21-23)
One of the first prayers I can recall memorizing as a child was a simple table grace: "God is great, God is good and we thank Him for our food."
That's a pretty simple, if not simplistic, prayer, but I think sometimes we need simple truths to impact us more deeply. There are deep truths in simple thoughts.
The deep thought and simple truth of God's upper story in this week's reading is that no matter what good or bad times we go through, God is great in His faithfulness and God is good. God is good all the time, and even at the times we are faithless, He remains faithful.
My prayer for you this week is that you would experience first-hand how great and how good is our God. In spite of mistakes you may have made, His love for you is new every morning. When it may seem as though your troubles are too great, may you experience God's greater faithfulness.
We invite you to come read "The Story" and experience God with us through worship this Sunday. You'll be glad you did.
Chad Eric Donley is the preaching minister at the Ham Lane Church of Christ.