As I walked on the nature trails, I wandered off the beaten path. Large toadstools nestled under a grove of blue spruce trees attracted my attention.
Pushing aside branches, I walked fifteen feet, entering a small clearing. The ground, carpeted with years of accumulated needles, felt soft beneath my feet. A chorus of crickets broke the silence. In the distance a woodpecker drilled, searching for insects. Inside my clearing, all was shadow, quiet and still; it became a sanctuary that soothed my soul. A smattering of bright red sumac leaves provided stained-glass windows. I sat on this carpet, gazing at the beauty all around me, and I felt the presence of God. Strains of “This Is Holy Ground” ran through my head.
Looking out an opening between the horizontal branches, I observed the golden radiance of the late afternoon sun. Outside my sanctuary, the seed heads of the natural prairie grasses glowed transparently in the sun’s light, creating a stunning contrast to the shadowy grove. The scene was breath-taking: I had to capture it on film. When I put the camera to my eye, it was focused on the branches in the foreground. They seemed large and dark, like horizontal prison bars, and the golden glow of the grasses in the background were barely noticeable. I refocused the camera, and the grasses, shot through with light, became the focus of my picture; the branches in the foreground almost disappeared.
I took my picture, and I thought: how many times in my life do I focus on the tree branches right in front of me that impede my spiritual way, and thus fail to see God’s light just beyond? How many times do I allow myself to become discouraged over minor problems instead of focusing my thoughts on the brilliance of God’s majesty or the comforting glow of his love? It’s all a matter of focus.
Remembering the lesson of the camera’s focus enables me to thank God in all situations and focus on His spiritual light shining beyond my earthly troubles.
Father let my eyes see beyond the earthly; let me steadfastly watch your spiritual light. May I always focus on the wonders You have created, on the wonder of You.
Hebrews 12:2-3 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”