Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lens Effects and Reminders of God's Provision

So, I know that this is a lens distortion due to shooting a photo into the sun...but the Lord used it to remind me of His  presence with my precious daughter and grandchildren.
Sometimes, when the Lord wants to remind us of His abiding presence with us, He provides us a physical symbol of a spiritual reality. During dark times of my life I have been encouraged, not by rainbows and eagle sightings themselves, but by the reminders they serve of God's faithfulness. The Bible tells us God placed His bow in the sky as a promise (Genesis 9:13), and that if we wait upon the Lord we'll mount up on wings as eagles (Isaiah 40:31).

We get in trouble when we confuse a symbol with the reality itself. That's when we develop a hunger for stories about angelic presences and the afterlife. We risk an unwitting flirtation with the occult when we seek spiritual thrills rather than rest on the Bible's promises of truths yet unseen. If we are to mature in our Christian walk at all, we have to accept that God in His wisdom has chosen to be invisible, perhaps so that we are required as a result to walk by faith and not by sight. And yet He is so gracious. Sometimes He allows a tangible reassurance of His intimate involvement in every detail of our lives.

An ongoing grief in my life has been that I've not been able to be as supportive of my adult children as they need me to be. My daughter is a busy homeschooling Mom of three young boys, and her husband works long hours to support his family during these challenging, child-raising years. My son works long hours himself and is a housekeeping and child-rearing partner to my daughter-in-law, who is a compassionate, hard-working veterinarian. But for the past 12 years my responsibilities to my Alzheimer's mom, along with my own health glitches, have robbed me of the time and the physical strength that would have enabled me to be a more active and supportive presence in my children's lives. On good days I feel only a constant, guilt-tinged sorrow, and on bad days I have to struggle against a crushing sense of inadequacy that too easily flares to active, irrational, resentment toward God for making me the way I am and toward my kids for having needs I can't meet.

Yesterday we made a quick trip to visit our youngest granddaughter and her sweet mom (the vet). They live about an hour away, and on the way home we stopped to visit Mom at the nursing home. These activities, along with my rosacea--which keeps me from sitting in the sun watching kids' sports events as in days of yore--had kept me from riding along with my daughter to her oldest son's soccer practice as I'd like to have done. As we drove home from our visits, I had my husband stop the car along our country highway so I could take some photos.  I was standing in the middle of the road when a vehicle appeared at the crest of a hill about a mile away.  It was my daughter and her three boys, on the way to soccer practice!

They zoomed by, the boys shouting their greetings through windows hastily opened, "HI GRAMMY!"

My heart overbrimmed with love and regret that I wasn't able to be with them.

It wasn't until I got home and uploaded the days' photos that I saw those star-shaped bursts of light and received the reassurance that the Lord is present with my loved ones when I am not.  He is with my mother during long nights at the nursing home when I am no longer able to hear her if she calls my name. And He is with my precious children to preserve, protect and provide for their needs in ways I, not even on one of my best days, ever could.

We miss our loved ones when we are parted from them, but we don't need to add inadequacy-sparked feelings of guilt to the grief of separation. It is such a comfort to know that prayer is powerful, God's presence is abiding, and heart connections through the Holy Spirit can't be broken by time, distance, or even death.  God is so good. 


  1. Twelve years is a long time; I had similar feelings after just one year. God speaks to us in many ways and He can use simple things to teach us. I love that picture of the lens flare and the way God used it especially for you.

    1. Thanks Vee, my prayers continue for you. I'm grateful for your comments.

  2. I definitely could identify with the guilt of not meeting our adult children's needs in the way we think they need to be met. This was just a wonderful post, Linda! It ministered to me greatly! I so needed to read this!

    1. Thank you so much for taking your time to let me know this, Georgene, you are an encourager! I appreciate you.