By: Ezra Connection
Job 38:22-30 (The Message)
Copyright 1993, 2002 by Eugene Peterson
"Have you ever traveled to where snow is made,
seen the vault where hail is stockpiled…
Who do you suppose carves canyons for the downpours of rain,
and charts the route of thunderstorms that bring water to unvisited fields…
You don't for a minute imagine
these marvels of weather just happen, do you?
The storm door slammed in a gust of wind, and glass lay in shards all over the floor. After it was cleaned up, the aluminum door, installed years ago to give added protection to the old Ontario farmhouse, had lost the screen and the top glass window that held it in place, plus the sliding glass section that is pulled down in winter.
Later, I opened the solid wooden door, and almost gasped with the unfamiliar clarity of the view across the farm fields. Rain since Thanksgiving had brought down many of the yellowed leaves from the century-old black maples nearby, and they carpeted the green lawn. The two watery ruts down the long gravel driveway shone white, reflecting the sky. Beyond the split-rail fence, Leroy the donkey ambled, while horses buried their faces deep in what was left of a 600-pound round bale of sodden hay, their feet standing in more “white” puddles, and their backs wet and shiny.
Someone laughed, saying, “There are no streaks on that window!”
I suddenly realized that the narrow aluminum frame of the door, now missing screen and glass, offered me a gift. It’s true that the screen often protected me from mosquitoes, big shiny-brown June bug “beetles,” smelly Asian beetles pretending to be ladybugs, and scores of flies. Equally helpful in a freezing wind were the glass panels. But all of a sudden, I found that the very things I choose for protection year-round also keep me from the truth of God’s creation.
At first, the vivid colour startled me—especially, the vibrant yellows. Little frost had come, so not many leaves had turned red, but high overhead, the trees glowed, and the greens and wet browns of the fields reminded me of Dutch oil paintings.
Slowly, as I moved beyond the sense of sight, a dull “pad” or thud drew my ear to the sound of a heavy drop of water from the tree, after it hit a damp, leathery leaf on the ground. Then, tinkles of drops fell on one end of the roof, on metal shingles, each embossed with a maple leaf, and specially designed to catch water and snow for the cistern in the early 19th C. farming days. Sudden watery sounds from the eavestrough under the roof edge gushed down the gutter downspout—and my five senses started waking up.
The dampness of familiar, pungent “farmy” odours of manure when walking in the rain, added the sense of smell to the artist’s picture. Had the view been on the other side of the house, I might even have imagined the taste of the last few red tomatoes on a sunny day, or the feel of their warm skins.
Quietly, God’s voice revealed that many things keep me from really reveling in His handiwork, some good in their proper place, and some not: screens and windows, blinds and curtains…but other things, too. Maybe I miss out on His beauty because of tiredness and busyness, priorities, selfishness, lack of time with Him, other choices and relationships…or even choosing not to look.
However, now that I have had the gift of a broken window to remove my blindness, I can say with Job, “I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You” [42:5 (Amplified Bible)].
And, even though the door will soon be repaired with new glass, I hope that God gently reminds me to remember today.
With wonder, Lord, we see your works,
We see your glory there displayed,
Below, above, in all that is
In beauty made
From a hymn by Brian Foley
(Based on Psalm 8)