My mother has an amazing green thumb, though she’s bound not to agree. She always points out all the plants that she cannot grow, but to tell the truth, she makes our backyard a paradise for wildlife. With cardinals and mourning doves and house wrens and mockingbirds and hummingbirds and blue jays, butterflies and bugs of all kinds, Texas spiny lizards and small geckos and squirrels, time spent sitting in our back yard truly ministers to the spirit and soul.
Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 (WEB)
“Our Iris is blooming Kathryn. You thought you could get out of it, but you’ve got to go out and take a picture of it,” Mom teased after our worship was over. It’s all right, I thought to myself. Maybe I can get a picture of another sphinx moth to go along with my blog entry. We had gone out yesterday to see a pretty yellow butterfly flitting around the yard, calling with a wave of its delicate wings for us to join it in the sun. While we were out, we witnessed a big green caterpillar crawling along our swing bench that we were sitting on. At first we thought it was a tomato hornworm, but upon further investigation we discovered that it was the waved sphinx caterpillar. With that (and a prayer) on my mind, I was ready to go outside again today.
The sun was bright, the breeze was nice. The shade of the ash tree cooled us from the spring heat of the sun. Trigger (our Australian Kelpie) was chasing lizards under our lawn chairs, and today he actually caught one. It was a Texas lizard, the type that we try to protect because Mom loves them so much. Luckily, Mom saw it immediately and she made Trigger drop the lizard. It was unharmed. I helped Mom hold Trig back and, after the shock wore off, the lizard quickly climbed up my pants leg and clutched on, knowing that I was a safe haven for it to hide while the angry dog tried to attack it. (Trig wasn’t really angry, he was just trying to protect his people from the lizard that he had found hiding under our chair.) After the lizard escaped, I calmed Trig down and Mom took him back inside.
Like what Mom and I were doing for the lizard in protecting it from Trig, God wants to protect us from the vicious dangers in our life. He wants us to trust in Him and to cling onto Him, so that He can hold us in His arms and protect us from harm.
But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives. In the end, he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25 (WEB)
While we were outside, I was looking for something amazing to take a picture of. The day was still and quiet, aside from the children playing next door. As my gaze skimmed the yard, I drew my attention to the roof of our house, to a spot where the shingles are missing. We’re getting our roof replaced this week, so I was using my telescopic lens on my camera to get a good look at the damage to the roof. I gave Lacy the camera so that she could see the spots on the roof too, and when she looked into the lens, I suddenly caught a glimpse of something big buzzing around the roses. “Oh quick! Give it to me!” Lacy immediately handed me the camera, but it was too late. The small creature had finished its business at the roses and flown on past the house. From the distance that I was at, it looked like a hummingbird, but bigger and bulkier; it must have been a sphinx moth making a quick stop at the flowers in our yard before moving on. It was the very moment I came outside for, but I had missed it.
The message God gave me at that moment was loud and clear. When we decide to focus on the worries of life, we miss the beautiful moments that God tries to bless us with. Lacy and I were focused on the roof of the house- something that is completely out of our hands. We could do nothing about the missing shingles or the rains that we’ve been getting lately. All we could do was trust that God will protect us from harm and wait for the roofers to do their job, scheduled later this week. But because I had decided to think about my worries and God’s concerns, I missed a moment that God had given for me to enjoy.
Who knows if I could have gotten a picture of the sphinx moth before it flew away. I was disappointed that I had missed the chance to try, but Lacy reassured me later that we’ll have more chances in the future. The sphinx moth is usually seen in May to July, so no worries. Maybe next time.
God heard my prayer of repentance, and although he didn’t send the moth back around, he answered another prayer of mine instead; I had wished for a chance to take a picture of the dragonflies and damselflies that we have in our back yard. That taught me another lesson: With a missed opportunity, God will always open a new door.
Hear my cry, God. Listen to my prayer. From the end of the earth, I will call to you when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will dwell in your tent forever. I will take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah. Psalm 61:1-4 (WEB)