You often speak to me through the wonders of Nature You have created! And You do it so often, it almost seems I can’t go outside anymore without feeling a heightened sense of anticipation. What will You say today? When You do speak like this, You never cease to amaze me. Because You convey messages to me that are both crystal clear and deeply significant.
Today was no exception.
Last night, I went to sleep after a terrific storm had filled the night. Frequent and intense lightning bolts had ushered in roars of thunder and torrential rains. Such displays of Your raw power have been known to leave me trembling with a mixture of awe (a kind of “fear” that reveres Your infinite might) and profound gratitude (that You lovingly use Your might on my behalf, to protect and sustain me).
I needed Your sustenance and protection last night. When I went to sleep, I felt empty… vulnerable.
This morning, I awoke with a keen awareness of my need to be alone with You… in Your Presence, without distraction. So I got on my bicycle and rode… over rain-drenched streets, under sun-drenched skies. And I saw — and felt — You everywhere!
“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. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
Everywhere I rode, You gave me “eyes to see” what I might otherwise have missed. I rode past countless pools of Your Living Water. Your sun’s rays — Your Son’s rays — pierced thousands of dew drops clinging to the trees, causing them to sparkle like so many diamonds.
Three sandhill cranes flew across my path and landed just off the roadway. Two parents (mated for life) and their child (whom they both protect). Reminding me that You, Lord, are at the center of every truly healthy family. When You are both present and reigning, You hold that family together… no matter what challenges may assail them, seeking their destruction.
“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His Holy Name. May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.” (Psalm 33:20-22)
I saw three small mockingbirds — each at separate times in my ride, each doing exactly the same thing. Mockingbirds protecting their nests — their families — by attacking large hawks. These little aggressors were successfully driving away an enemy — a giant predator at least four times their size. Reminding me that when You are on our side, Lord, our enemies — no matter how fierce they may appear — are always outnumbered, outgunned and outmaneuvered. So we, too, can be fearless!
“If God is for us, who can be against us? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:31b,35,37)
I even saw three vultures, normally a sign of foreboding. But this morning they were high overhead, soaring in a giant circle… reminding me of the flight You empower in each of us, as You lift us over all that would seek to ground us.
“… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
By the time I finished my ride, I knew this was going to be a precious day in Your Presence, Lord! I had gone to bed last night feeling empty and vulnerable; this morning, it was as if You couldn’t wait to fill me and strengthen me! It was only as I finished my ride that I realized how far I had gone. A distance I hardly ever travel… but, this morning, You had taken me on a different route. A perfect route for all You wanted me to see.
A perfect route… of seven miles. Seven — Your number for Perfection!