Monday, November 23, 2009

The Yellow Stripe down the Middle of the Road

The Yellow Stripe down the Middle of the Road
By Judy Vandiver
© copyright 2009 Judy Vandiver

It was a beautiful spring day as we traveled West on Texas Highway 7. The sign beside the road said, “Monk’s Lookout – 1 mile.”

“Let’s stop,” I told Steve. “I want to stretch my legs.”

Steve pulled onto the gravel drive and circled around to a lone picnic table. He, the kids, and I piled out of the car and walked to the edge of an embankment that stood above the valley below. What a breath-taking sight.

Sunlight bounced off and glowed from a blanket of wildflowers carpeting the fields of the hillside. The golden buttercups, brilliant Indian paintbrushes, and vibrant bluebonnets danced on a soft breeze. They seemed to wave at us as we towered above them.

Our eyes took in the rolling hills and dales. There were not only wildflowers, but patchworks of fields planted by local farmers. And green grasses of various hues stood as the backdrop for the amazing beauty.

All too soon, we had to get back into the car. No one said anything for a while and I assumed everyone was deep in thought about the beauty of nature, just as I was. Soon, our little David, asked, “Dad, how did God make all those flowers?”

Steve patiently told David how God had created the world and when He did, He had made seed-bearing plants.

“How did He make so many different colors?” David asked.

Steve explained that God had control of the entire world and had made it a place of beauty for us. He shared with our son the verse from Matthew 6 and used it as a lesson to teach David about God’s love.

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30 NIV)

“Dad,” David asked next, “how did God make some of the land flat and some into hills?”

Steve carefully explained that God had created plates in the earth that at a specified time had shifted and moved to craft the Earth into what God wanted.

Throughout this father-son conversation, I listened, joyful that my son realized God had made the spectacular sight we had enjoyed.

Quietly, our little Melissa finally spoke up. “Well, I just want to know one thing,” she said. “Just how did God and Jesus get that yellow stripe down the middle of the road?”

All was quiet for a moment then Steve, David, and I burst into laughter.

Later, I thought about that drive along Highway 7. Melissa was very young at the time and her focus was not on the things that we saw that day. She had not been looking up. With downcast eyes, she had focused on something other than God.

I wondered how many things God had placed before me for my enjoyment, yet I had never seen them. Had I been too focused on the stripe down the middle of the road, rather than the beauty of God’s creations?

I think God’s greatest creation is not the world around us, but that we, humans, are His most remarkable handiwork. How easy it is for us to sometimes overlook the beauty in ourselves and others, while we concentrate on the yellow stripe. It’s all a matter of where our focus is. When our eyes are focused upward, we see Christ. If we focus on worldly things, all we’ll ever see is the yellow stripe down the middle of the road.

Colossians 3:1-2 says, “ Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (NIV)

© copyright 2009 Judy Vandiver