Sunday, March 27

A Taste of Heaven

A hummingbird flits from flower to flower, its purple and green feathers glistening iridescently as early morning sunbeams hit its wings.

In the foothills of the Santa Catalina mountains, a coyote family ventures home; dark silhouettes make their way slowly against the fading backdrop of Arizona desert.

In the middle of the night when most people are sleeping, flashes of monsoon lightning dance across the cloudy night sky like an aurora borealis of the desert.

Let all Creation rejoice before the Lord!  (Psalm 96:13a)

When God paints me a beautiful picture of His Creation, I sometimes think of certain verses from a poem written a hundred years ago.  William Blake's "Auguries of Innocence" begins:  

To see a world in a grain of sand, 
and Heaven in a wildflower, 
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand 
And eternity in an hour.

William Blake saw God's majesty in a grain of sand or in a wildflower as he held them in the palm of his hand.  God gave him a glimpse of eternity by revealing Himself through His Creation in just an hour's time.  William Blake was, like Louisa May Alcott (the writer of "Little Women"), a transcendentalist who believed that God could be known better through His creation.  And doesn't this scripture in Romans also teach us that?   

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  (Romans 1:20) 

Some of the times when I've felt closest to God, when I've felt I could almost taste Heaven, have been times when His Creation has been so perfect, so overwhelmingly beautiful.

Last year, we lived in Tennessee for 2 months.  One weekend, we drove to Gatlinburg in early October through the Smoky Mountains.  Autumnal forests clung to the road on each side.  The wind softly rustled the branches of the trees making leaves gently fall around us.  We were listening to the angelic voice of Alison Krauss on the radio.  It was so perfect, really like a little bit of Heaven coming down by God's hand, that my eyes watered.  Just to taste Heaven for a couple of minutes is almost overwhelming. 

O Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth... When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained I wonder, who am I that you would think of me?  But you do think of me and You love me!  Help me to enjoy your Creation and all that is in it and to know you better because of it until the day when I see you face to face. Amen.

Wednesday, March 16

A Simple Word & Locks of Love

I sat beside my husband on a soft blanket in the park.  The flames of a bonfire danced and flickered before our eyes as they warmed us.  We had come here with some friends from church to barbecue, roast marshmallows, and just spend time together.  It was heavenly, leaning against my hubby with his arms around me.  I thought of how far God had brought me in the last four years.  How had I found such a faithful, loving husband?  Only by God's grace!  

"My angel has such beautiful hair," he whispered to me.

You should give your hair to Locks of Love.

I heard about Locks of Love on a talk show once.  It much have been over a year ago then.  They were a hair donation service.  They made wigs for children and teenagers with diseases like cancer and alopecia areata.  The program had touched my heart as it would have touched any other woman's but I hadn't thought of it since.  Why now?  The thought came to me again:

You should give your hair to Locks of Love.

I looked into the fire.  Did God want me to cut my hair and give it to a child?  But my hubby loved my hair, and it had taken me so long to grow, and besides that, I loved my hair!   Whoa... was I still so prideful of my appearance as all that?  And how was I supposed to know if it was really something God wanted me to do?  I remembered something one of the preachers at church had said recently, "If you think God is trying to tell you something, you should always test it against scripture.  God's word is always the final authority."  Before I could finish asking myself if there was possibly a scripture that would agree with giving my hair to Locks of Love, I thought:

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

It was so simple, but it was God's word.  I knew then it was something I could do.  I realized how vain I had been about my hair, especially how much I loved those compliments from strangers... but wouldn't a little girl who didn't have any hair love it even more?  Wouldn't I hope someone would do the same for me?

A few weeks later, I sat in a chair at a beauty salon downtown.  My hair had been long and beautiful for as long as I could remember.  I wondered what my reaction would be when my curls all tumbled to the floor.  Would I cry?  The woman behind me measured my hair and then began to cut.  My curls didn't fall to the floor, but the beautician held my hair gently as she separated it by the sheers. She tied it all together and wrapped it in a towel.  I glanced at my face in the mirror.  I wasn't crying.  I actually couldn't help smiling.  Perhaps God had asked me to do this as much for myself as for someone else.

[Jesus] said, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."  Luke 11:28

Lord, Help me to obey you and trust you even when I don't exactly agree with what I think you're doing in my life.  Remind me that you love me and that your plans are always perfect from me, whether it's something as silly as cutting my hair or as serious as fighting depression.  In Jesus matchless name, Amen.