Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Battle Plans

Then he prepared a great feast for them,
and after they ate and drank,
he sent them away and they went to their master.
2 Kings 6:23

It opens like a classic movie finale.  

The embattled hero, Elisha, stands alone with his one trusted friend.  Surrounded, out numbered, out gunned, they wait in the valley, it's always a valley, with heads held high.  

The terrified servant declares it's the end.  The calm and confident Elisha reassures him; God will never let them down.

Suddenly, silently the mountain tops bloom with the multitudes of allies engulfing the conquerors.  

With war cries echoing off the hills, they swoop down into the battle, conquering the enemy, celebrating their victory, and cheering as the hero gets the girl and the credits roll.  

Well, almost like the movie.  

No war cries, no massacre, no girl;  Elisha just quietly leads them into the city as the hosts of heaven watch from the hills. 

He protects them, he feeds them, he lets them rest, then sends them on their way.

A unique battle plan to say the least.  

I wonder what they thought.  

Where they afraid to eat the food?

Did they cringe at every sound, waiting for the swing of the sword?

How far along the path home was it before they really believed they were going to be spared?  

How did they ever explain it to their king?

Whether in gratitude or confusion, or total humiliation, I doubt they ever forgot that day.  

They would live, forever in the shadow, of that one encounter with God.  


Monday, June 16, 2014

Push Back the Leaves

On a weekend still cool enough I turn back for my sweater, the first tinges of summer heat  brush the air.  Strawberry season drifts to it's close, brief and hidden in the tumultuous turn of the seasons.  

It looks rather discouraging at first glance. Long green rows are dotted with bubbling children, scatterings of dark, soft, overripe berries, and plants that weightlessly dance in the sun.  The farmer points us to an abandoned section with a smile, a box, and a lifeline;

 "Don't be afraid to push back the leaves.  If they were easy to find, they've already been picked"

True to the promise, they're there.  They hide in the shadows of the thickening leaves and the mounds of earth.   I scoot through the stiff hay layering the ground between the rows, nudging my cardboard box with it's softly rattling tumble of loot.  I lift layers of leaves, and gently push aside tangled stems and vine rotted fruit to find the hidden gifts.  

Brightly glowing in their first touch of sunlight, they're a hint of the miracles waiting to be found if I just take the time to look.     

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lifted Eyes

I will lift up my mine eyes to the hills...
Psalms 12:1

Hiking the rain softened trail, it's easy to be lost in the stones beneath my feet.  Step by step, I skip to a more secure boulder, and swing my legs over a fallen branch.  The soft morning air brushes the wild flowers that dance at the edge of the path.  Stopping for pictures, stopping for breath, I lift my eyes to the beauty that almost overwhelms me.  

It's a pleasant walk, within the radius of my arms.  I could stay here quite happily, engulfed in the trees and the flowers and the sounds of the birds.  Yet the glory lies just outside that self imposed bubble. 

How often do I forget to stop, 

to lift my eyes, 

and to embrace the gifts that surround me?