The Shadow of God’s Wings
The noise inside the car seemed unusually loud as we traveled to a football game last week. I am very sensitive to the whining, whistling, windy car noise when we drive, but this was noticeably not right. About 30 minutes into the trip it suddenly went from annoying to Tsunami level. Something was terribly wrong. As the noise reached deafening decibels, another sound began. Thump. THUMP. THUMP!!! I looked up and discovered that something had gone very wrong with the sunroof housing. We quickly found a safe place to pull over as the banging continued. A large plexiglass air scoop in the front of the sunroof had broken away and had cracked in half. The plexiglass piece went flying in the wind, still attached to the piece of rubber seal that had pulled out of its groove, and then it broke into four pieces as it slammed into the roof. Somehow the pieces miraculously stayed attached to the rubber strip which was still half attached to the window housing. Those four pieces would have probably done some damage had they flown off and hit the cars behind us. Instead, they flew above the car, attached to the torn seal like flags on a sailboat jib. Thankfully we were safe, our fellow travelers were safe, the car was still drivable, and after my blood pressure returned to normal, we continued on our way.
On the way home from the game, we sat in two hours of stand-still traffic. A multi-car accident had stopped traffic, and there were injuries. Twelve emergency vehicles passed us as we sat. My heart goes out to those people and their families.
We never know what the day has in store for us. We don’t get up in the morning and think that this might be the day that we say goodbye to the things and people we love. Days like that remind me to always be aware of my many blessings, and to not take a single moment of this life for granted.
But it’s easy to take our lives for granted, isn’t it? We just go through the routines and demands of life without pausing to count our blessings. We let work, family life, responsibilities, planning, living, and mundane moments lead us through our day until thump, thump, thump, something is suddenly wrong.
Our Psalm today is a timely reminder of God’s constant presence in life, in death, and in life beyond death:
But your loyal love, Lord, extends to the skies;
your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the strongest mountains;
your justice is like the deepest sea.
Lord, you save both humans and animals.
7 Your faithful love is priceless, God!
Humanity finds refuge in the shadow of your wings.
We experienced refuge in the shadow of God’s wings that day. Others on the road were not as fortunate. This road is notorious for speeders and tailgaters, and there are consequences to reckless behavior. I don’t know why some are spared and others are not. But I do know that when the unexpected, the startling, and even the unthinkable things happen, God is with us.
We miss out when we don’t take those routine, everyday, ordinary moments and feast on them. We often overlook the daily opportunity to drink from God’s river of pure joy. We let chores, duties, commuting, housework, catching up on emails … the contents of daily life … fill in the picture of our existence, and we forget to appreciate the simple joy of living until we have a scary moment when life suddenly reveals its precarious nature.
8 They feast on the bounty of your house;
you let them drink from your river of pure joy.
9 Within you is the spring of life.
In your light, we see light.
10 Extend your faithful love to those who know you;
extend your righteousness to those whose heart is right.
In God’s light, we see light. Take some time today to stop and look up from your routine. Life indeed is precarious … and precious, too.