Sometimes I think God just wants to say “hi.” And He may do it in the most unexpected ways. Two recent incidents have reaffirmed why I think this. In one, God showed me His gentleness, and in the other, His sense of humor. At both times, it was evident that His grace and glory were present.
The first episode happened as a friend and I were leaving church one Wednesday evening after a practice session for the church’s Praise band of which she is a member, and I am the media coordinator. The day had been typical of most of our days this summer. In other words, triple digits, hot and humid. As we stepped out of the chapel door, however, an unexpected cool breeze wafted across our faces. We both smiled at the relief the brief touch of wind brought. Just then, I heard a soft sigh. As I looked down, my friend’s child, whom she was pushing in a stroller, gave a little laugh. Her face then broke into a huge smile, and her tiny hands reached up as if to grasp the very breeze that blew across her face. The baby, who has Down Syndrome, kicked her bare feet and continued to giggle with delight as her mom loaded her into the family van for the trip home. But I stood there with goose bumps running up and down my arms, for in that instant, little Ginny had become one of the most beautiful children I had ever seen.
There was no doubt in my mind that God had been present on that sidewalk. It was as if He had pulled back a curtain and said, “This is how I see her every day.” And now, that is how I see her, too.
The other incident happened this past Sunday. It was the second anniversary of my dad’s passing away. As we did last year, my mom and I went to the cemetery to spend some time there. It was late in the afternoon, and as we silently approached his gravesite, my attention was drawn to the flowers we had placed there earlier this summer. But there seemed to be something different about them this time. As we got closer, I was able to see what it was.
“Look!” I exclaimed. “There’s a bird’s nest in the flowers!”
Sure enough, a small perfectly formed bird’s nest was nestled in the artificial sunflowers standing in the vase next to my dad’s headstone. It was so unexpected, and yet, so appropriate. My father, you see, had been an avid birdwatcher. He had loved to watch birds of all types and always kept several bird feeders around his house to attract the feathered creatures. A couple of months ago, my mother had placed among the flowers at his grave a bright plastic red bird whose wings moved with the wind – but a real bird’s nest? How did that get there? What kind was it? Why would a bird build a nest so low to the ground? Why did it pick my father’s grave out of the thousands in the cemetery?
Neither one of us had answers for these questions, but it didn’t really matter. Once again, it was as if God had reached down to let us know everything was all right – that my dad was all right. And, knowing my father, if there are birds in heaven –and we have to be pretty sure there are at least doves there – my dad is probably in charge of feeding them.
I believe that God is with us every day, but there are special times when He touches us gently on the shoulder just to remind us of His presence. He may choose do it through a gentle breeze, a child’s sweet smile or even something as whimsical as a bird’s nest. But He will do it. We just have to pay attention.
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