A big brown bunny quivers deep into the green grass with fear remaining still in front of our garden. Not even 10 feet from him, our terrier Rascal had just been let out into the yard, but was totally focused on the yard next door and the fence. It was a chilly morning, sun shining brightly on the lawn, bouncing off the aging oak tree. The rabbit loves the cracked corn left in the grass and like us, is drawn into temptation.
Lately, I have had several occasions lately to wonder if I really was being present, attune to God’s Will. Decisions of consequence to me right now. A far away conference to attend, a class to take, giving up the question to God. Can I do this? I have prayed about it now, darn it. I am trying to take it back again. Think of blessings. Joys. Be grateful. Knowing His Presence is always with you no matter what.
The Holy Spirit inspires me with insight sometimes, to be present to seeing as perhaps God sees. From “above” (i.e. knowing what could happen and seeing his children and creatures in the darkness of their world.) I really don’t see Rascal as evil or darkness, but to a rabbit, he could potentially tear his long-eared friend apart. And Rascal loves chasing rabbits, but the bunny seemed so scared.
My thoughts drift to the Scripture readings I did earlier in the day that we can count on our Lord to watch over us. The Bible says, ” the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
Our bunny, quivering in fear of impending events, seems like he could have been you or me in our wilderness of Lent as our Lord remains vigilant with us through our little trials.
My heart races. Rascal’s cataracts dim his vision, but his sense of smell and hearing are excellent. From my perch, I watch as he sniffs about in the yard, oblivious of the impending danger. He rolls over in the grass, enjoying the day.
I open the door a crack. The sound turns Rascal’s head toward me while a new creature steps into the adventure. Ralph Jr., the squirrel, doesn’t see Rascal either, and ducks under the wire fence and confidently scampers over toward the oak tree. Word of our yummy cracked corn must have spread around the neighborhood.
God provides so many blessings to us. We could be aware of his goodness. I yell out, “yum-yum. Rascal, come on.” Just a second or two of diversion as he looks at me, considering his fun in yard versus his treat. Then, his ears perk up. Rascal turns as he hears something moving in the grass and barking loudly, he jumps toward the flying gray fur. With a split second to spare, Ralph Jr. makes a successful leap into the tree. The bunny watching carefully, hunkering down, disappears quickly under the fence. Rascal continues with his assault on the tree for a while, but decides the treat in hand is worth more than a squirrel in the tree, so to speak and heads for the door.
Sometimes, we don’t escape our troubles like the bunny, though. There is not always a happy ending. But whatever happens, I have a deep and growing sense of trust in God’s Presence in this moment. Jesus hand on my shoulder gives me peace and calm. That doesn’t take away the confusions and temptations, but He is my Rock through them. His Presence lies in, around and through us. Though we can be in difficult situations, we can be above them, as I was above the unfolding drama. Perhaps, it is good to have the insight to be awake, aware of others’ dangers, and be Christ’s hands and feet in this world. Knowing that our love for others can make a difference.
The Father takes care of his children. He gave up His Son’s life to give us salvation from all our sins. We may tremble, quiver and hunker down in the grass, or make flying leaps without knowledge of what will happen. But the Light of God’s Presence will warm and hold you firm. Be grounded in God’s Presence, we will make it through.
I offer many practices to get grounded in God’s Presence in the beginning of the day. Today I offer just a start for you. Before the day begins, in that moment list in your mind, or in a journal, a gift from God that continue to bless you. Savor this gift: a family member, a pet, time with friends, a walk-in nature, gardening, music. Continue this practice five times a day. Give gratitude for what you see as a gift from God, just for you. When your feet hit the floor, remember to be present and look around for God’s Presence holding you strong. When you fall, and we all fall, just look up and thank the God who is helping you through this moment.
Another thought is to wake up to a beautiful piece of music that you love, savoring the harmonies that God created in this music just for you. Google your choice if you wish. I prefer soft guitar and piano music. Or, take in several deep God-given breaths breathing in the deep love of God and breathe out the Love of God for the World.
© 2023 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis