I have words welling up inside of me. They have been spilling out for a couple of hours already tonight. I am ashamed to say that I faithfully wrote them all down on pages in front of me–and then deleted every single one of them.
There are times when the truth that is actually trying to break out from its prison inside of me has to push aside all the noise, and the ideas, and the fluff just to get to the surface. Then, instead of screaming and jumping up and down to get my attention, it just stands there quietly, waiting its turn. I don’t always notice in a timely manner.
The unassuming, the patient but essential, is not what gains our notice in this rowdy world, is it? We give way to the loud and boisterous, the implausible dressed in the ridiculous garb of hyperbole, but seldom do we stand and listen for the soft, steady voice of the foundational truths.
After hours of striving, I am listening. You see, the sum of my literary regurgitation earlier was this: There are no safe places–places where we can go to lock out the problems, the people, and the fears that surround us in this brave, new world in which we live.
And finally, after all that time, and all those words, I remember. There is a safe place, but it will never be found in the location we expect, nor will it be protected by the frail hands of any human being.
|Photo: Jeannean Ryman
I have been made aware through various means, over the course of my life in a general way and in the last few days in a more pointed manner, that we cannot depend on the safety governments and their laws inspire, nor even the security a good job promises. Those assurances are empty and ultimately, vain.
I am not the first to come to this conclusion, nor will I be the last. It is not a new idea. Centuries ago, the Teacher, when He walked with those who followed Him, reminded them that worry was ineffective, even useless. Planning for tomorrow would lead to disappointment. He could have left them (and us) there, depressed and hopeless, but the next words gave new hope–and a solid place on which to rest. He told them to look at the ravens and consider how much they worried, and how much they planned for the future.
You are far more valuable to Him than any birds!
My photographer friend, Jeannean, recently captured, in her camera’s lens, the essence of what I am thinking tonight. The photo, at first glance simply a drab, almost colorless image, is of a mother bird lying on the ground. The lesser nighthawk has her wings slightly, almost nonchalantly, spread. Then, as you gaze at the scene for a moment more, the whole picture suddenly comes into focus. There are two chicks lying under her, one under each wing, protected from the sight of predators above and covered from the heat of the midday sun.
A place of refuge.
More words from me would just muddy the waters. Well maybe just one more word–the word the Psalmist used often–a suggestion that we pause to contemplate what we have seen and heard.
“He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”
“Under His wings, Under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide
Safely abide forever.”
(from the hymn Under His Wings
~William Cushing~American hymnwriter/pastor~1823-1902)
(Special thanks once again to my childhood friend, Jeannean Ryman for the use of her amazing photograph. Jeannean has a gift for seeing the beauty in the ordinary and giving us a glimpse, too. You may view many examples like this one at http://jeannean.zenfolio.com
if you are interested.
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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