On a recent walk after the rain, I was dazzled by the drops on the tangles. The shimmer, the reflections, and the colors. I thanked God and took more pictures.
When this one came into focus, I took an internal detour.
I heard myself say, “Wow! That one looks like a human heart except I can see through it.”
At first, it felt like a gift and it was because I like sheer curtains especially if a breeze is whispering through them, bridal veils, dragonfly wings, and butter spread lightly over crackers so that the bumps and salt show through.
And as lovely as all that is, this was a gift of a deeper kind.
My feet were soaked and getting cold, but still, I stood there, mesmerized by the intricate beauty certain there was more for me in this moment.
I couldn’t seem to look away from the drop-filled tangle any more than I could ignore my thoughts and the Bible verses that seemed to be attached to each one.
“Is this the way my heart looks to You, Lord?”
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b
“I’m glad only You can see my heart, Father because people seeing me this clearly is too risky. They’d see my sin and sorrows and failures and find lots of reasons to judge me. And if the people I love saw how much I love You, that would be risky too because they might not understand. And then there’s my love for other people – my love runs deep but my thoughts are not always kind. Besides, who wants to know my heart anyway? It’s not like I’m any kind of big deal. This is me we’re talking about here. My silly, often selfish, and sometimes ragged heart.”
I wanted to keep rambling but I needed to take a breath and this verse interrupted my monologue.
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV)
I stared at the drop-filled tangle and thought it sort of looked like a fancy Chinese lantern. That was almost a relief because it might mean that this wasn’t a serious God-moment after all. Maybe I was looking for something of value that just wasn’t there.
My silliness was short-lived.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 15:16 (NIV)
Instead of surrendering the win to God, I continued. . .
“If I’m this see-through, my heart will get broken. Again. And Again. And I’m not sure I’m up for that. Being as transparent as glass is scary Lord because surely if they see my good works, they will think I’m showing my own goodness off and we both know I have a limited amount of that in my heart sometimes! And Lord – there are some people who could crush me completely if they looked at me this up close and personal and didn’t like what they saw. Wouldn’t it be better for all of us if I keep the junk in my life between You and me?”
I paused and expected the next verse to cross my mind agree with my self-incrimination – surely there were one or two in my memory.
Instead, my heart reminded me of Romans 8:1 which says. . .
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
And close behind my Grandpa Ed’s favorite verse made its way into the moment.
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
As the mist in the air transitioned to rain I gave in and I heard myself say,
“I am going to love You and all who are my neighbors more. I am called by You according to Your purpose. And I will let my light shine, and like it says in Psalm 9:1, I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”
I hurried into the house, put warm, dry socks on my feet, poured myself a large cup of hot coffee, and snuggled under a blanket with our dogs, a quiet. A few minutes later, a powerful feeling washed over me at the same time this verse reminded my heart:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
The rain sang the dogs and me to sleep – because a nap about then seemed like the perfect way to rest in the Truth of His Word.
Until Next Time,