Sometimes there can be something very powerful right above you, and you’re not even aware of it.
I’ve found this out a few times while on a walk in a nature area.
I’ll think I’m totally alone: I don’t see or hear any other creature.
But then suddenly a large shadow will zoom across the path in front of my feet.
I look up to see what the shadow belongs to, and spot a majestic red-tailed hawk. He’d probably been circling above me the whole time, but he was so silent that I didn’t know he was there.
Recently, I came across two large, striped feathers on the ground. Their tell-tale markings told me they belonged to a bird of prey. Looking up into a nearby tree, I was surprised to see a hawk perched by its nest. I’d walked underneath the same tree many times before without realizing the nest was even there.
In each case, the bird had been right there with me, but I initially hadn’t been aware of its presence.
Similarly, sometimes we feel that God isn’t near us.
We can’t see or hear Him. We can’t seem to feel His presence in our lives. It feels like we’re alone in our struggles.
But there is something (or rather, Someone) powerful right above us, who promises to never leave us or forsake us. God’s children are never truly alone.
As gardeners know, some plants need their best buddies nearby in order to flourish.
It’s been known for centuries that planting certain combinations of plants together can help the garden prosper. This practice is known as “companion planting.”
For instance, planting alliums such as garlic underneath roses can protect the latter against blackspot and aphids. When lilies and roses are planted together, the scent of each improves.
Yarrow and foxglove have a tonic effect on the plants in their vicinity. Yarrow helps fight off pests, attracts beneficial insects, and improves the soil. Likewise, foxglove stimulates the growth of nearby plants and helps them build up resistance to disease. Planting foxglove under fruit trees improves the storage qualities of the fruit.
Perhaps the ultimate companion plant is marigold. It has traditionally been grown with tomatoes to keep them healthy and produce a better crop. Marigold’s pungent odour disguises the scent of vegetables from pests, preventing them from homing in, and its root secretions kill nematodes that attack plant roots.
Who wouldn’t want such stalwart companions in their corner?
God wants us to have buddies like these on our team, too.
Winter can be a lonely time, can’t it?
The joyful symphony of birdsong that graced the spring and summer months has diminished. In these parts, most birds have already flown south for the winter by now. The backyards and parks seem unnaturally quiet, with nary a chirp to be heard.
It can leave us feeling bereft, like we’re all alone.
But we’re never as alone as we might think, as we’ll see from some encouraging accounts in the Bible.