Hidden Info

After we’ve bought a certain kind of car, we feel a camaraderie with matching cars on the road. Although I’ve never owned a Toyota before, now my eyes land on them, particularly Highlanders like mine. “What a handsome vehicle,” my brain tells me. But before my purchase, I’d never even heard of them.

ToyotaThe other day I pulled up behind a Highlander at a red light. I was admiring its silvery color when I noticed something interesting about the Toyota insignia. The letters T-O-Y-O-T-A are all present in that one symbol. And suddenly it made perfect sense. The loopy design I used to think resembled a man in a cowboy hat was just a clever way to embed the company name into their emblem.

Before the stop light turned green, God put an interesting thought into my head. He, too, is hidden in a similar way, not the letters of his name but his touch, his influence and his wisdom, embedded in the world around us.

I think of God every time I see a flower with five perfectly arranged petals instead of four or six. It would have been easier to make it symmetrical. I see him hidden in the endlessness of outer space as the Hubble continues to travel and show us more of the heavens. Mankind thinks we’ll eventually see the end of it, but my guess is there is none.

God is hidden in the conception of a baby. With fertilization comes the full potential of a complicated human being. The invisible DNA, present from the first cell division, is so unique it can be trusted to finger a criminal and send him to prison.

The Lord has also hidden himself in the circumstances that come into people’s lives. Our family “saw” him again and again during Nate’s illness as coincidences became too numerous to be happenstance. We are seeing him in similar ways in Mary’s situation. He is also hidden in the unexplainable phenomenon of changed lives, of radical turn-arounds that defy logic.

God is hidden, yet he calls to us. “Come and find me!” And he intends to let us discover him. This invitation is, of course, the opposite of our M.O. We try to hide things from God, hoping he’ll never ask about them. It might be a deed we’re not proud of or a secret sin we don’t want to stop. It might be a way of thinking we know is wrong.

How ridiculous to think we can hide anything from the Almighty. He has the ability to see beyond x-ray vision right into our thoughts. Nothing can be hidden from him. We would do well to follow his example by telling him, “Come and find me.”

“ ‘Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:24)

Praising and Praying with Mary

  1. Pray about 3 scans I’ll have tomorrow, Tuesday, to check for hidden cancer. Pray that I’ll be strong and courageous and respond in a way that glorifies God, no matter the outcome.
  2. I’m thankful today was my off-week: no chemo.

Does “Father Know Best”?

God is full of surprises. He doesn’t think like we do, plan like we do, or respond to circumstances like we do. He has no limitations and never runs out of ideas. He never has to rack his brain or wonder, “What should I do?”

That’s because he’s God, in the top slot, in all categories.

Father Knows BestGrowing up in the 1950’s, my family didn’t watch much TV. Television was new, and there wasn’t a whole lot to look at. By 10:30 PM, the national anthem was played, and all programming ceased until morning. One show we did find to watch, though, was “Father Knows Best.”

Mary and I have sweet memories of our relationship with the Andersons, a family much like ours with two girls, one boy, a home in the suburbs and a daddy who walked in each evening wearing a hat and carrying a newspaper. Tonight we watched one of those black and white episodes from 1958. Just hearing the theme music was a thrill, and seeing our old “friends” again was a pleasure.

Saint PeterIn tonight’s story, the father, Jim, finds himself facing Saint Peter at heaven’s pearly gates. Peter is assessing whether or not Jim ought to “get in.” When he questions him about a decision he made, Jim says, “That was an especially difficult one.”

Peter says, “Naturally it was difficult. It’s part of our Master Plan. We do that purposefully. We keep throwing difficult choices in your path to test you.”

Without realizing it, this script line had made a scriptural point. And because of God’s perfect analysis of every person and what each needs, we can believe there are exceedingly important reasons for the “difficult choices” that are “thrown” at us.

I think back to 5 years ago at this time, when we knew nothing about Nate’s cancer but were about to find out. God had already decided on the test, had put the details in place, and had lit the circumstantial fuse. The difficult choices Saint Peter mentioned were barreling toward our family. The same can be said of Mary’s cancer just before it was discovered 5 months ago.

In each case, once we got the bad news, each day after that became a mini-test within the larger test, all of them exceedingly difficult. Television-Peter summed up the dilemma by saying, “It’s the decisions you make that shape you into what you are.”

While we knit our brows and wrestle with the tough tests, there’s a choice we can make up front that will facilitate the rest: choosing to believe each test does come from an all-wise God, a Father who always does know best.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

Deer me.

Deer Forest At Paw Paw Lake ColomaWhen our family was young, we visited a small amusement park and petting zoo near our summer cottage, called Deer Forest. We could ride a Ferris wheel, a pint-sized train, and a miniature roller coaster, but our favorite was mingling with the animals.

It was at Deer Forest I saw my first peacock. There were also foxes, goats, rams, wild turkeys, massive rabbits and plenty of deer. One quarter bought a Dixie cup of pellets, and I’ll never forget the soft noses that snoofed into my palm to get their treats.

Back then, it was difficult to see these animals in the wild, but today the tables have turned. Instead of paying an entrance fee to get close to a deer, most of us are trying to figure out how to co-exist with them as they boldly search for food in our yards.

One morning Jack and I came across six deer drinking at our beach creek, and I couldn’t hold him against his desire to give chase. Of course he couldn’t catch them. Each deer-leap equates to 20 Jack-steps, and his thick body was no match. He even ran into a tree once, in his effort to zigzag behind a nimble deer.

Chomp chompThe abundance of deer has become a cause for people-frustration. These animals boldly square off with cars on country roads and cause accidents, some with serious consequences. Homeowners have put up electric fences, hung nuggets of soap or garlic, or put up chicken-wire barriers to protect their gardens. They’ve researched and planted flowers that have a bitter taste, in their efforts to keep landscaping intact. Although the deer used to eat only the blossoms, now they consume the stems and leaves, too. Even hosta plants, never of interest before this year, are being chewed into sticks.

Yesterday while driving on an expressway, I spotted a beautiful buck (similar to the picture below) walking slowly across a railroad bridge over the highway. Every driver looked up as he flew under the concrete at 70 mph, and I nearly rear-ended a truck while staring at the deer in my rear-view mirror. He was sporting a giant set of antlers and though he was in danger, didn’t seem to have a care in the world.

Deer with AntlersI talked to God about this today, not asking how to help the deer as much as what he wanted me to learn from the situation. And tonight I think I’ve heard from him. Though there is a limit to the resources of the earth, there’s no “bottom” to who God is, how he works, or what he can do. His wherewithal is unbounded, and his power is inexhaustible.

Although watching hungry deer is disturbing, they, too, are within the scope of God’s control. If he wants me to do something for them, he’ll let me know. Until then, my clear instructions are to meditate on his limitlessness and to thank him for it.

”Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”
(Psalm 147:5)