“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” ~John Milton
A moment in time will always live in my memory. It is one of my most cherished worship experiences ~ a transcendental moment when I had to simply stop to praise God in the midst of a mundane task.
It was while my children were in elementary school. Due to a job transfer we were living in northern Alberta, Canada ~ one of the most beautiful and brutally coldest places I’d ever been!
The entire experience was one long vacation for us! South Edmonton, Alberta meant rolling hills, a log home on eighty acres, with horses and weekend trips to the mountains. There was fragrant, lush alfalfa hay planted around the grain fields surrounding our house. There were frequent Pony Club events, delightful friends from around the world, and a little church that we loved.
A winding stream behind our home was inhabited by dreaded ghostly beavers, who enjoyed chewing through our power lines on rare occasions. It happened at least once, and we actually thought it was funny. (The beaver trappers had to be called out when this happened, so they could catch them and relocate the buggers to another location.)
It was winter time, and the temperature had hovered below zero for weeks now. Since we owned horses, it was necessary to go out and take care of them, regardless of the weather conditions. But for me, having lived in south Texas all my life, every new day in Canada was a grand adventure. So I really didn’t mind.
I’d never been around horses; our first horse, Prince, knew this and bullied me sometimes by trying to lean on me and stand on my foot. Horses are incredibly instinctive. They smell fear! But eventually I grew to love him. And if you’ve ever loved horses, you know just how gently but surely they work their way into your heart. I was immediately in awe of all that sheer beauty, all that sweeping power! There’s nothing like a horse to teach you about love, strength and spirit.
Anyway, one morning I went out to feed the horses their grain and hay in the extreme cold while the children were eating breakfast. It was probably twenty below, and a light powdery snow was beginning to fall.
While Prince was eating I huddled close to his warm red coat for warmth (we were far beyond the “leaning-on-you” stage.) I suddenly saw a single snow flake float onto his coat and land there. Now you must understand that the horses’ fur sticks straight out for warmth in the winter there, to provide thick insulation. So the flake was suspended firmly on the ends of his coat~ like this:
And I simply had to stop and stare! I’d never seen anything so exquisite! Even now I can’t describe it, other than to say it was fine art, created of course by the Master Artist of the Universe! A tiny sparkling crystal, designed for my eyes only. Such a gift of gracious love, from the Creator of all things beautiful! I leaned silently on Prince’s solid warmth for a few moments, and simply worshiped. There was no other option! Even now I can’t describe how my spirit soared, filled with unspeakable joy and gratitude.
I’ve never forgotten that moment! It was sacred. It is still, today, in my heart and mind.
For me that pasture is forever a cathedral, and the snowflake forever a symbol of His magnificence, His majesty! To gaze on His magnificent creation is to see the hand of God.
And not only to see that snowflake, but to feel the warmth of Prince’s body against me that day ~ a reminder of His warmth, His nearness, His touch. His creation all around me.
He is near us, surrounding us with proof that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who will diligently seek Him. I daily hold these moments close in my heart and praise God for such a sacred time with Him.
Will you seek Him today? Do you remember those moments when you were near to God and felt His touch? You’ve known His nearness, the warm breath of the Holy Spirit on your face. The warmth of His hand in yours.
Close your eyes this moment and ask Him to reveal Himself anew today as you face whatever your day may bring. Draw near to God, and you will see that He is already right there, as near as your next breath.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please give us eyes to see, and ears to hear the sacred in our world, and change us, Lord. You are near! May we be aware of Your Presence in the world around us, and may we honor You with our lives. Help us to focus on what is good and lovely, as You have instructed us to.
In Jesus’ precious Name we pray, Amen.