As I was driving today I noticed the beautiful hills in my neck of the woods/desert are already being mowed away. We’re only a couple weeks into spring but the glorious green wild grasses have turned to glorious gold. Most of the rain, that totaled (once again) less than a couple handfuls of inches over these past 12 months, has dried up deep in the soil. Those grasses that showed off in the breezes of the waning winter and waxing spring will transform into a threat. In California tall grasses are signs of life in the early spring, and harborers of death in summers and falls defined by drought.
And so, the practical landowners begin to mow away the natural carpet on and around our homes. Weed whackers and heavy equipment alike are descending on our hills to prepare for what we refer to as fire season.
I’ve been reminded a lot lately that there is almost always more than one way we can define things and situations. Our definitions often originate from the season or setting we find ourselves in at the moment. Those hills of wild grasses inspired me poetically a couple weeks ago. Those hills of wild grasses have the potential to instill fear in me come August. Fuel for sparks of imagination or fuel for fires of destruction.
Last week my daughter was preparing to take a 6 hour exam. She sacrificed a lot, including the last spring break of her college years, to study for this exam. At 9:30 the night before her exam she realized that her driver’s license had expired 2 weeks prior. The testing center requires a current, government issued, form of identification. Needless to say it was a traumatic realization.
However, a number of things went in her favor. She remembered before the test day. She has a current passport; the passport was at our home. Her university is less than 2 hours away from our home and my husband and I were available to bring her the passport. She slept while we drove and was able to fall quickly back to sleep after we dropped it off. When she was checking into the testing center she mentioned her realization of the previous night to the guard, and he told her sadly of a young man who he had turned away earlier in the week — because of his expired license.
I’m not saying we weren’t the least bit irritated with her but…we were all keenly aware of how much worse it could have been. We were thankful for God’s provision. She could have pulled her license out when there was no time left to get her passport that was 2 hours away. She could have not had any other official form of identification. She could have sold God short and rather than have been thankful, she could have been unable to sleep because of her earlier panic.
The adult son of one of my friends had a situation of far more consequence. Shadows were found on one of his kidneys. If they had been noticed on anyone else his age doctors would have simply suggested they keep an eye on them. His father had had cancer at an early age so they decided to operate. The shadows were cancer. That was and is horrible news. But had they never investigated, the news would have been far more devastating.
I’ve heard someone say if they are late for an appointment because someone else interrupted them, they assume they avoided an accident or some other unseen event. Or they assume the interrupter was more important than the interruption! They are not dependent on their physical eyes. They keep their spiritual glasses on hand.
It’s not only interesting to contemplate the unseen world at work around us; it is vitally important. Remembering that there is a spiritual world as well as a physical world can untie the knots we get ourselves into when we see something we considered a gift getting whacked away with a weed whacker!
Trusting that there is a spiritual world that Jesus is at work in, as well as the physical world, puts perspective on Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth;”. Contemplating the spiritual world should make us all a more thankful people! God has us covered when we don’t even know we need covering!