The Apple of His Eye

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The Helix Nebula from CFHT, 8/28/2000
Credit & Copyright: J.-C. Cuillandre (CFHT Staff), CFH12K CCD Camera, CFHT
(See explanation below)

Keep me as the apple of your eye. – Psalm 17:8 (NIV)

My dearest Child,

You are the apple of My eye. Sometimes, I know, you feel as though I’ve abandoned you. I have not. I’m here. I’ve always been here, and I’ll always be here for you. I’ll never abandon you, no matter what happens, no matter how you feel or behave. No strings attached. I love you simply because you are Mine.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “the apple of my eye” many times, but do you know what it means? The “apple” of the eye is the pupil, the center of the eye and the part that allows light in. Without this delicate part, you wouldn’t be able to see. So the pupil—the apple—must be protected at all costs.

I am your protector, the shield around you, the strong tower into which you may run for refuge, your rock, your fortress, your deliverer, your stronghold in times of trouble. Yet there have been times you haven’t run to Me. You’ve sought help elsewhere. I never force you. I always give you the choice. Sometimes your choices break My heart. But I want you to love Me and choose to obey Me on your own. Like the pupil, I want you to open up your heart and allow My light and love in.

There are times when I must intervene for your own good. What parent would allow a child to step out into a busy street and not run and snatch that precious one from harm’s way?

When you’re weary and bearing a heavy load, I lead you to a place of rest where your soul can be refreshed. If I didn’t, you’d run yourself to death. What are you trying to prove, dear one? You don’t have to earn My love or prove your worth to Me. I created you. Just as you are. For a purpose. Everything I allow in your life has a purpose, child. Work with the circumstances, not against them. I am in control, whether you believe it or not.

Sometimes I allow hardships in your life to teach you, to strengthen you. Do you remember learning to ride a bike? How many scrapes and bruises did you endure before you were able to ride without someone running right behind you, ready to catch you if you fell?

Yet there came a time when I had to stand back and let you do it on your own. I watched you fall, brush yourself off, and hop back on again. I was so proud of you. I watched you cry when the pain was more than you could bear, when you were so frustrated because after all your attempts, it still wasn’t working out the way you’d planned. I hurt because you hurt. I counted your tears and bottled them as a reminder of your growth pains. But I was always there.

As you grew, the lessons became harder. Such is life, My child. Sometimes I allowed you to wander in a wilderness, to struggle in a storm. It pained Me to hear your cries, “Where are You? Why don’t You help me?” I was helping you. I never abandoned you. Your faith had to grow stronger, and the wilderness and storms make perfect faith-growing greenhouses.

You, Apple of My Eye, are precious to Me, and I love you so much, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give for you. Indeed, I gave My Son.

You are the apple of My eye. Don’t ever forget it.

Love,

Abba

Read and meditate on Zephaniah 3:17

NOTE ON PHOTO: I typed “Eye of God image ” in my browser, and one of the websites that came up was this picture of the Helix Nebula. Here is the explanation from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website, dated Aug. 28, 2000:

Explanation: One day our Sun may look like this. The Helix Nebula is the closest example of a planetary nebula created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star. The outer gasses of the star expelled into space appear from our vantage point as if we are looking down a helix. The remnant central stellar core, destined to become a white dwarf star, glows in light so energetic it causes the previously expelled gas to fluoresce. The Helix Nebula, given a technical designation of NGC 7293, lies 450 light-years away towards the constellation of Aquarius and spans 1.5 light-years. The above image was taken with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) located atop a dormant volcano in Hawaii, USA. A close-up of the inner edge of the Helix Nebula shows unusual gas knots of unknown origin.

Source: Astronomy Picture of the Day, Aug.28, 2000

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Beyond the Loss

. . . a crown of beauty instead of ashes . . . –Isaiah 61:3 NIV 

At 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted in a violent blast that blew out the north side of the mountain. Everything within eight miles—man, beast, and vegetation—met with instant death and destruction. Shock waves leveled everything within their path, including centuries-old trees, for another 19 miles. Beyond that, the trees that remained were nothing more than standing matchsticks, seared of leaves and life.

Fifty-seven people lost their lives in what was the most destructive volcanic eruption in U.S. history. Miles of roads and railroad tracks were destroyed. Ash spewed 12 miles high, then mushroomed out, eventually dumping an estimated 500 million tons in 11 states and five Canadian provinces.

The blast, and the accompanying earthquake, altered the landscape and forever changed the ecosystem.

In July Dean and I visited the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. We toured the museum, viewed displays and read placards, listened to an energetic ranger give an animated talk, and sat through a jaw-dropping video that captured the lateral blast.

We stood, awestruck, as we gazed at what was once, at 4,400 feet above sea level, the fifth highest peak in the state of Washington.

Today the north face of Mount St. Helens, which lost 1,300 feet in elevation in the blast, is one gigantic crater, the area around it a moonscape, gray and lifeless. Sun-bleached tree trunks are strewn over the ash-dotted hillsides surrounding the volcano.

But the place is anything but dead.

Prairie lupine and other wildflowers bob their colorful petals above the green meadow grass. We watched elk graze in the North Fork Toutle River Valley, where patches of trees are making a comeback.

Nothing has been planted, at least not intentionally. After the initial cleanup following the eruption, the area was left to nature. Within a month, avalanche lilies poked their heads through ash deposits 10 miles away.

One of the documentaries we viewed was titled, “Eternal cycle of destruction and renewal.”

“Where humans see catastrophe,” the narrator said, “nature sees opportunity.”

How true. The more I learn about the eruption and how the area is naturally recovering, the more I am in awe of nature—and the One who created it.

Out of destruction came new life—not the same as before, but life nevertheless. Plants grew that couldn’t have thrived in the shadow of the forest. The nutrients in the volcanic ash allowed different species of plants to grow. A new kind of beauty emerged from and because of the ashes.

As I gazed at the prairie lupine in the meadows and the splashes of red, orange, yellow, and white swaying in the summer breeze on nature’s palette, a phrase from Isaiah came to mind: “a crown of beauty for ashes.”

There are times our lives are rocked to the core. Our very foundations are shaken. That with which we’re familiar—comfortingly familiar—is blasted away. A gaping, colorless void replaces the mount where our dreams once reached for the sky.

The landscape of our lives is forever changed. Fallout obscures our vision, clogs our breathing, snuffs out our hopes. We will never be the same.

But all is not lost. For out the ashes will come new life. Out of destruction renewal.

For where we see catastrophe, God sees opportunity—to stretch us, transform us, change our direction, grow our faith, give us a life we could never have imagined before. A life resplendent with new color, new dreams, new hope.

If God so cared about nature that He placed seeds of renewal in what appears to be total destruction, will He not care for you?

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” Jesus says in Matthew 10:29–31. “Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows.”

Thank You that what I view as the end is not the end, O Lord, but really a new beginning. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 46

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.