Monday, August 31, 2015

Lions and Tigers and Bears...

Oh, MY!

Driving through the woods last year, on a vacation with my daughter and her husband, I sat in the back seat enjoying the beauty of God's world all around me. Looking out the window lazily, I was startled to see a huge black mass of fur strolling through the trees, sure enough, as if he owned the place! Right in front of me was a living, breathing, black bear, on whose land I believe we were trespassing! 

I had seen wood carvings in all of the tourist shops in the area that proudly announced to the tourists, "You are in BEAR territory!" As a city girl, I found it mildly amusing, didn't take it too seriously. I had heard many a bear story, but, to me they were little more than myth. Until I looked one right in the eye. I held my breath as he stopped the traffic while he sauntered across the road. Crossing directly in front of our car, he turned and looked in the front window, as if sizing us up as tourists not worth eating today (thank the Lord!). I believe he was more interested in going fishing in the twinkling waters of the stream that wound itself around the trees and rocks that were strewn like so much confetti all along the side of the road. This was God's creation, A world of extravagant beauty splashing and shouting its abandon all around us. 

That's me in the back seat!

I treasure the memory of that sweet interlude in my life, provided by God through the hands and generosity of my daughter and her husband. I delighted in the beauty of the world they had given me an opportunity to see. The gorgeous beauty of the trees, changing their clothes to fit the season - sometimes, ruby red, sometimes glittering gold, sometimes fading green, or popsicle orange, on their way to the forest floor to sleep before the winter snows blanketed the world. 

There were only about 3 or 4 of us in the church as one of the ladies visiting, like us,
sat down at the old, rickety piano, and sang Amazing Grace with the voice of an angel.
I remember thinking of all of the believers who had worshipped and died and were buried in the back of the church, who were now in heaven witnessing that their church is still being used for God's praises, hundreds of years later.  Amazing, indeed...

I remember with great affection the loveliness of that sweet vacation. The beautiful little church from the 19th century where I was one of a tiny gathering of spectators to a choir of one who sat down at the old church piano and filled the hills with her beautiful voice, singing Amazing Grace. I treasure the memory of the evening my son-in-law drove high up into the hills on a night that showcased the stars like diamonds freely thrown about against a blackened sky. Simply breathtaking is the beauty of the world God has created!

"The heavens declare the glory of God
and the firmament displays His handiwork..."
Psalm 1:1
There are countless memories I have from that time with my children. But of all the memories and wonders I treasure, the one that warms me like a fire on a cold and snowy night, is the memory of the love so freely and joyfully bestowed on me with such abandon. Loving each other extravagantly, and letting their love splash all over me, was really the greatest gift I received from these two co-conspirators in love and generosity toward me.  

Many are the wonders of God's creation.  From the breathtaking beauty of the world He created and freely gave to us, to the beautiful voices raised to sing His praise, to the majesty of the wildlife, fish jumping in the sparkling spring waters, black furry bears strolling on their way to somewhere, yes, of all of these wonders, there is one even more captivating to me. The wonder of love that bursts out of our hearts for another.  The sweet, life changing gift of love, from the One who says He is Love itself.

What a joy to have sat down at the banquet table of the Lord with my daughter and her husband, who served me up heaping portions of His love, and never left a tab.  Yes, I enjoyed everything I saw. But, mostly, I loved watching you. Sharing with you.  Being loved by you.  Did you know you are, to me, a reflection of the best there is in this world?  Did you know, I was basking in your love?  If not, I'm telling you now...

Amen... :)

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