Monday, December 21, 2009

Looking Through Feathers

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust."

He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge; (Psalm 91:1-2, 4)

I love the imagery used by the psalmist: we are hiding beneath the wings of God, finding shelter, safety and comfort.

It seems likely to me that Jesus had this psalm in mind when he spoke of his heart's desire for Jerusalem:

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed  to  gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."

Lord, I am willing--gather me under your wings. I want to view life through feathers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Smile of a Child

King of the Wild Frontier, scaler of the swing set, and muser with a downward gaze...  In this second grade picture of me, coonskin cap and all (if you were born after 1960, don't even ask), I am so unaware of the camera. In those days we had little sense of the paparazzi's presence. We didn't pose when the camera came out; we kept on doing whatever we were doing and just slowed down a bit.

I would like to think that we cusp-of-the-boomer kids did not think we were the center of the universe...but I know it is not true. But because of a simpler, advertising-"deprived" life style, we did have a wonderful opportunity to just be children. That was pretty cool.

I once wrote a poem that included these lines:

I smiled
a quiet smile...
a thankful smile.
The smile of a child.

When I saw this MonaLisaesque smile on my rounded baby face, it make me think of these words. And made me long for the inner innocence that renders such a smile...the smile of a child.

"Unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." (Jesus)

This little me-girl speaks a message to my heart that spans a fifty-four-year bridge of time. Like a time capsule I just opened.

"When you grow up, don't let anything take away your childlike heart."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Undivided Heart

Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.

An undivided heart. A heart not going in many different directions. A heart focused on God and his will for my matter what else is going on. How I want that kind of heart! Don't you?

Going into the busyness and distractions of December, I need to hear the simple truth of David's psalm.

Just to think of an undivided heart causes me to feel more peaceful. To take a deep breath. To remember to rely on God...not on myself. To seek to bring glory to God...not to myself.

The undivided heart is set free to "fear [God's] name." Not to be shivering in dread, but to affirm the power and majesty and sovereignty of the Lord God Almighty.

Just as a mother gently cups the face of her distracted child with her hands and turns it to focus on hers as she gives direction, so God says, "Look at me. I love you. I want your life to be full and fulfilled. Have an undivided heart. Do not be distracted by all that must be done. Be still and know that I am God."

O Lord, give me an undivided heart.