God shows up in unexpected times and places, if we look for the signs. Here’s one.
Each fall I journey to the Sierras. The trout are hungry, getting ready for winter, and bite gladly, unaware of the hidden hook. The cottonwood and aspen trees are changing colors, which is rare in most parts of CA. The people are scarce, even more rare in CA!
Last week’s trip featured great fishing, 38 trout in 8 hours on three creeks. The aspen put me in awe, with the most glorious golds and yellows in years. And the people—well, more photographers than fisherfolk were found along the streams.
Heading up Lee Vining canyon I saw a turnout, with half a dozen photo types shooting away at some aspen. Needed a pic or two I pulled over, snapped three quickly, and headed further west to the fishing territory (by the way, those three are on my Facebook post from 10/13). Eager to wet my line, I never looked at them until getting home. The third shot, above, amazed me with something I didn’t see when taking the pic.
Notice those shafts of sunlight streaming down? They weren’t in the shot, the camera added them. I’m not that good or intentional.
Now, let’s get metaphorical for a moment. Not squirrelly, but figurative. We often associate God with light, one of his key identifiers. This is NOT God in the picture, OK? But it reminds me, and some others who saw it, of him. One writer said it looked like the enfolding arms of God.
For me, those shafts represent how God shows up in unexpected ways, adding a flash of grace to our lives. For Paul the apostle in Acts 8, Jesus showed up in a blinding light that forever changed his life. For the apostles after Jesus’ death, Jesus showed up in human form and it forever changed their lives. For me, God showed up at a Mexican orphanage and it forever changed my life. I’m sure Paul and the apostles had many other divine encounters, as have I.
Those God flashes serve several purposes. The remind us of the reality of God when questions and doubts slip in. And maybe more significantly, they bring fresh touches of God’s grace and love to daily life. We all need those.
KICK STARTING THE APPLICATION
Question: has God shown up unexpectedly in your life? Never, rarely, or more often? What were the results, at the time and since? Looking back, can you identify times that he showed up and you missed that it was him? Why?
How can you develop your ability to recognize these? Be careful, though, some are subtle and we can easily call coincidence a divine appointment.
I encourage you, when they touch you, tell someone, like I’m telling you now. I’d love to hear some of your experiences and thoughts, either on this blog site, or on Facebook.