Powerful Things We Don’t Mean to Observe

Well, the snow has cleared and February temps have rebounded to near-record highs (it was 80 yesterday!). I’ve got the gardening bug, again, though I can’t seem to keep my plants alive. I know that the definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Well, when it comes to growing plants from seed — I’m nuts. I bought this 72-seed planter and planted five varieties of herbs. I love herbs. They’re great for cooking. Plus, the whole concept of growing what you eat appeals to me. Well, I followed the directions on the planter package and the seeds started to sprout within 48 hours. I was SO excited! They grew for a week, then started to wilt. I tried everything I knew how to do in order to save them but I fear that they have been fatally wounded. The cause is unknown but I’ve long suspected my tap water isn’t up to par with society’s standards and it may be killing my plants. Today I plan to go to Home Depot and buy a water testing kit. We’ll see. But the reason I’m writing is not to talk about plants or tainted water supplies.

A few days ago I made my weekly trip to Wal-Mart to get a few items. All went well in the store but I kept noticing a number of young couples roaming the store. These folks were, in my estimation, between 18 and 25 or so. Young. And they were in various states of their relationship. Some were clingy, others just holding hands, some expecting, another really expecting. I wondered if I had stumbled upon young couples night at Wal-Mart. The older shoppers seemed to be few and far between.

I know it’s easy to mock the younger generations and their tattoos, unkempt hair and clothing choices (from hole-y to risque), but I was startled by an image I saw as I left. I didn’t intend to get a spiritual lesson out of my trip but God delivered one to me, anyway. As packed by car up with a few grocery bags I noticed another young man walking up my row. He, too, was of the age of the young couples in the store and he, too, had tatoos and tattered jeans. But this man was different. He was holding a baby — his baby — tightly to his chest, with tenderness and strength. The baby was fairly new to this world, I guessed merely an infant, and his or her father seemed to be guarding it with his life. Not even a crowbar would take that little one from his loving arms.

The sight stunned me. I suddenly, immediately, right away thought of God. In Isaiah 40, the coming Messiah (Jesus) is described as a shepherd. “He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.” Just like that young dad I saw. The gentle shepherd Messiah said Himself that God the Father behaves the same way towards those who believe in Him: “no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand,” he said. Just like I’ll bet no one would’ve snatch that infant out of it’s father’s hands. Or so it appeared.

What a powerful lesson from a brief image, seared into my mind and penetrating into my heart.

No one will snatch us from our Father’s strong arms.

We are loved.