Category Archives: Nature

the heavens declare the glory of God

Critters of the Suburbs

Last week, after we completed our move from Estes Park to the suburbs, I placed one of my geraniums pots on the front door stoop. It looked so cheery there with its bright red blooms and healthy green foliage. I got out the electric hedger—the one I haven’t used since our southern California days—and trimmed a hedge and pruned an overgrown rose bush. Bees buzzed nearby. I brushed a strand of spider web from my forehead.A large red squirrel scrabbled up and down the maple tree nearby.

A large fly somehow got into the house and made a racket until we finally managed to hunt it down with a fly swatter. A cricket got into the family room and chirped until I found his hiding place. I killed a large spider on the wall next to the curtains.

On Friday it snowed, so I rescued the potted geranium and brought it inside to defrost. That afternoon, I decided to prune the same geranium. As always I forgot to wear pruning gloves. It’s just a little plant, I told myself. Soon, the plant was shorn. I just had a couple more branches to remove. Something tickled my hand and when I looked, there was this enormous garden spider creeping across the back of my hand. I let out a shriek like Brunnhilde from a Wagnerian opera. The spider dropped off and disappeared back inside the foliage.

She re-emerged a few minutes later and I got her. But I’m slow to learn. With ungloved hand, I started to clear the clippings. Another large spider—this one looked truly dangerous— ran out onto the kitchen floor. Another Brunnhilde shriek.

Then I had to laugh when the thought occurred to me that we had to move from the Rocky Mountain wilderness to experience the closeness of creepy critters again.

In the mountains, the creepy crawlies die off pretty quickly.

But in the warm, sheltered corners of our suburban houses, bugs thrive. Under the well-watered leaves of our hedges and shrubs, spiders weave and watch.

I thought, isn’t that kind of like our spiritual lives, too? In places of obvious danger, we are vigilant. But in places where we think there is little threat, we relax and fail to guard against poisonous spiders, noisy crickets, and filthy flies.

Looks can be deceiving. The “suburbs” often contain more dangers than the rustic roads of the mountains.

Keep an eye out!


The Invisible Exists

We decided to drive all night to get to Las Vegas for my niece’s wedding on Saturday.

Bruce and I left Estes about 9 PM and drove south to intersect with I-70, the interstate that runs through the Rocky Mountains.

We’ve driven this route hundreds of times and we are always thrilled by its beauty.

Since we know the way so well, and have seen it, we know where the road will curve, we know the speed limits, the towns, the sights well before we encounter them.

This was not a trip for sight-seeing. We drank coffee to stay awake, and got through the desert to our air conditioned hotel before the morning sun could turn up the thermostat.

But as we drove through Colorado’s Glenwood Springs Canyon, I pictured the magnificent cliffs looming above us, hardy little pines and spruce trees clinging to the rocky base. By now, in August, the Colorado River wending its way at the bottom of the canyon would be groovin’ like a laid-back hippie, and rafters wouldn’t have to fight any powerful currents.

I felt sorry for tourists driving at this time of night. If they hadn’t seen the glories of this route on some other trip, they’d be driving blind, imagining that the darkness surrounding them contained nothing but black sky.

Oh, what they were missing!

I believe that’s how it is with the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus frequently referred to in the gospel of Matthew.

As Christians, when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us, we get a taste of what heaven is like. And sometimes, like tourists, God comes near and we get glimpses of His indescribable beauty. Having touched, tasted, smell, felt His glory, we anxiously look forward to more experiences.

But I can only tell another person about Him and how wonderful it is to be near God and to spiritually see Him.

It’s great to read about wonderful things along the route.

But at night, without sight, the traveler only knows from his reading of a map, or by someone who’s already been there.

A whole wonderful, colorful, exciting world exists.

It’s there even when the traveler’s eyes don’t see it.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” (Matthew 5: 8, The Message)