Shade

October 27, 2011

Oh, hello.

I’m just here in Colorado — you know, where it is the dead of winter.

I am originally from Minnesota, so I can handle tragedies like early snowfall. (I cannot handle tragedies like the Vikings 2011 season, however.) But a snowstorm I can take in stride, you guys. Don’t even worry about me. Especially since it’s Colorado so it is likely to be 95 degrees again by the weekend.

So I’m learning Hebrew, you know. Sometimes it’s kind of hard. But mostly it’s very awesome. Hebrew is a very physical language — the word for “anger” has its root in the word for “nose.” Because when you’re angry, you flare your nostrils, you see. So we know that “Yahweh is gracious and compassionate, slow to flare his nostrils and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8, Denise’s Third Semester Hebrew Version).

Hebrew is a very physical language, and the Jews are a very physical people. When Ray Vander Laan is teaching, he often has people close their eyes and call out words that describe who God is. When he is here in America, with people like you and me, he gets answers like “omnipotent, holy, omnipresent, good, love, infinite and transcendent.” These things are all very true of who God is. But, he says, if you were to ask that same question of a group of Orthodox teenagers in Israel — if you were to ask them to describe who God is, they would say things like, “rock, shepherd, shade, eagles wings, and a father who taught his children to walk.

I think the way the Scripture describes God is very meaningful. When I’m driving on the highway and I look over at the mountains, I can remember that God is a rock, upright and just. When my friends have babies and I see them holding on to the fingers of their sons and daughters as they attempt to move chubby little feet, one in front of the other, I can be reminded that God guides our steps, teaches us to walk in his ways.

I hiked the Grand Canyon with friends once. It made me very whiny. The trip down was wonderful. It was still morning and it was cool out, and the view was incredible. At the bottom we splashed in the icy river and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Then it was time to hike back up.

It was the middle of May; by the time we were halfway back up the canyon it was 94 degrees. The switchbacks were endless. My friends kept telling me we were “getting there,” but they were cruel liars. We would never be to the top. I would die in that canyon — hot and dusty with blisters on my feet. Tragic.

Every mile or two on the trail there was a little stone shelter, built for the fools who were dumb enough to be trying to hike their way out of that canyon of death. I would see the shelter in the distance, nine million switchbacks away, and I would put one foot in front of the other, trying to make it there. When I’d arrive, I would plop down, so grateful to be shaded — for just a few minutes — from the blazing Arizona sun.

I wish, when I did that hike, when I finally found shade and sighed with relief in those shelters, that I had remembered that the psalmist tells me that “Yahweh watches over you — Yahweh is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”

That is what the Bible can do for you. We can remember God in the things we see every day. He has given us these images in his word as reminders of who he is and what he does. It’s a beautiful thing.

Have a wonderful day, friends. May God be your strength and your shield.

p.s. Make sure you enter the drawing for the great prize package! And find me on Twitter!

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7 Responses to “Shade”

  1. rachel said

    know what would be awesome? if you had your own bible translation. i would totally reference it! also, this is a great post, really. what an awesome way to be reminded of, and experience our Creator.

  2. That was my favorite long hike ever. Amazing.

    “We’re almost there!”

  3. denisemorris said

    ha! Rachel — I’d definitely be up for a blasphemy award. Glad you liked the post!

    MJ — liar!

  4. Alecia said

    I wish you would just not bring up the Vikings. Ever. Bless you.

  5. Kerry Wester said

    I loved this.

  6. Little Grey Rabbit said

    Ok, this has nothing to do with this post (although I really enjoyed it – I just discovered your blog the other day after you linked it on Boundless, and you make me think in whole new ways), BUT – I love the way your nail varnish and bracelet go with that red button on your typewriter in your main photo. So cool!

  7. denisemorris said

    Thanks, LGR!! I like that too. 😉

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