““But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10 (NIV)
Layed out, lost, and lifting up prayers
I’d been calling out to heaven, are You there?
Yet I’d been left wondering,
Does God see me, hear me?
Does He care?
I know everything happens in God’s time, but I just wanted answers.
Does God even see me down here? I contemplated as I tugged my Great Pyrenees Scarlett O’Hara across the grass leading to the trail when I heard a voice say, “just a few more minutes.”
I stopped short and glanced up before realizing the voice had come from the playground area edging the forest. I looked over at the swings, expecting to see a child.
Instead, there was a man, his legs were pumping, body tilted back, his US ARMY Veteran cap planted on his head. He was showing off for his wife by swinging higher and higher, as she held her phone up to record him. I stopped and stood for a few moments, watching.
I’d seen this couple many times before. Both of them are probably in their seventies. They walk their Bernese Mountain dog, whose graying face offers proof that they’ve done their share of miles here. Finally, I called out, “I was waiting for you to jump out.”
His laughter filled the space between us and he hollered back, “Maybe sixty years ago.” I laughed too, his joy cracking open the window to my own.
It’s then that I know, even if I am not seeing the answers to my prayers, the Father is reaching out. Right here, in this space.
As we enter the woods, two baby squirrels with tiny tails chase each other across our path. As Scarlett and I press on into the sunlit woods, the chorus of frogs joins with the new songs of the birds in their declaration of spring to greet us.
These dusty old paths are where I go to walk, talk, and just be with Him. The trace of my footprints through this forest is a map of our journey together. This is where I feel closest to God.
Here, I feel small but also seen.
Suddenly, the answers, the mountains unmoved don’t matter as much as this moment, here with Him.
When we reach the planked bridge, a little girl in a baby backpack with red hair and rosy cheeks claps and coos reaching for Scarlett. As we pass by, her mother and I smile at each other in the knowing way mothers do.
Scarlett slows as we reach the opening at the end of the trail, she knows our walk is coming to an end. As I load her into the car and start the drive down the winding road out of the park, I feel lighter.
My doubt about God’s care for me was a stumbling block, like a root on the path of the trail. But God removed it through glimpses of His heart, heard in the laughter and joy of a man filled with youthful exuberance on the swings. He showed me how He makes all things new through budding trees, baby squirrels, and rosy-cheeked little girls.
A simple walk in the woods reminded me that the One true God who, with His voice, created every leaf on every tree in that forest (Genesis 1:11 ESV) cares enough to remind me that He does.
He hears me, and He is working, even when I don’t see.
Now, when answers to repeated prayers don’t come, I head to the forest where “his invisible attributes,” can be seen “in the things that have been made.” (Romans 1:20 ESV) Through the sights and sounds of His creation, I feel His love surround me as I watch His glorious plans unfolding in the unveiling of spring.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for always meeting me where I am. For showing me Your heart through Your creation. And especially reminding me You hear me, You see me, and most of all, You love me. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
When your faith is fading go to where you felt God the last time. You’re sure to find Him there.