Saturday, September 16, 2006
I Sing Beneath the Shadow of Your Wings
Every day on my way to and from work, I pass a small municipal airport sitting so far from the road I rarely remember it’s there. Like most people, I’m focused on the day ahead or the current song, or the next song I’m impatiently pushing buttons to get to.
Occasionally though, something literally out of the blue happens, making the hair on my arms stand up and my adrenalin quicken. It’s an instantaneous, confusing awareness that something bigger than me is happening all over and around me—and then it’s over in a flash. Afterward, I smile at myself for forgetting where I am . . . . the fight or flight goose bumps were for naught--airplanes tend to hang around airports.
Just the other day, it happened again. A descending plane approached the left side of my car, then traveled over me, darkening the inside of my car and the road in front of me for just a millisecond, and then passed to the right toward the airport. I wanted to watch the plane complete its landing, but I had to keep my eyes ahead or risk a catastrophe. No matter how many times I see a plane take off or land, I marvel at the way gravity is temporarily thwarted. And so my fleeting moments of alarm on Riggin Road turn into moments of awe.
I’ve noticed that God reinforces images with me a lot. For example, I was walking in my neighborhood and listening to “Better is One Day” sung by Kutless, and a plane cast its traveling shadow over me again. Coincidentally, there is a line in the song that says, “I sing beneath the shadow of your wings” (Psalm 63:7). I was sensing a theme.
Christians often talk about moments when we “feel” God’s presence and/or hear him speak, and the times we don’t. Of course, God is faithful and constant; he doesn’t dart around playing hide and seek, but we lose sight of him somehow. Maybe we’re distracted by pushing too many of life’s buttons, trying to get to the next best thing. Sometimes I pray and pray, but I don’t hear God speak to me, at least not in the way I expect. But as I listened to that song, it occurred to me that the “fly-over” is how I often experience God’s presence in my life.
In other words, when I can’t seem to hear him, if I watch and wait faithfully, I see him “fly over” my life in his time, casting his presence over and all around me, penetrating where I live and on the road before me. I see him on the people around me, on his creation, and in his music. And no matter how many times I experience his presence in my life, when I catch a glimpse—even the trace of where he has just been, I am filled with awe.
He opens my eyes to his hovering presence, reminding me that I am under his watchful eye, and that when I look for him, I will find him. My fleeting moments of fear give way to trust.
He casts a big shadow—a big, big, shadow, with the majesty of an eagle whose wingspan is immeasurable, the precision and power of the most sophisticated aircraft and the tender care of a mother covering her children. His presence is all I need. The image of the mighty eagle swooping down and then up, circling and watching, casting his holy shadow over my life, allows me to lay my head on my pillow at night in peace. And in my spirit, I sing beneath the shadow of his wings.
Better is One Day
How lovely is Your dwelling place
Oh, Lord Almighty
For my soul longs and even faints for You
For here my heart is satisfied
Within Your presence
I sing beneath the shadow of Your wings . . . .