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Right before my eyes!

“The cross!” I shouted. “There’s a cross in the sunset. Come and see.”

Right before  my eyes!

The phone rang while I was making supper on Thursday evening. The man from the appliance store wondered if he could deliver our new washing machine the next morning (which happened to be Good Friday). I told him we were going to church. But his son was only home for Easter and he needed the extra muscle power to get the new machine upstairs and to remove the old one for us. So we agreed they would come early.

Jack and I had planned to do some work in the barn together after supper. Now I needed his help to manoeuvre the old washer out of its tight space so I could clean underneath. I left the supper dishes strewn on the counter and we grunted and groaned until we had that brutally heavy top-loader out in the hallway. Jack went to the barn and I faced the accumulated dust bunnies and dryer fluff in the laundry alcove. Armed with brooms, a shop vac, rags and soapy water, I set to work.

Finally, I got down on hands and knees to scrub. My mind drifted to the week’s top headlines. The nightly news rendered indelible images: dead children in the streets of Aleppo and people convulsing in the throes of paralysis and death; the angry visage of an accused murderer in Kitchener; the bloodied face of a paying passenger dragged off an airliner; a little girl in Arizona playing by a barber shop window and a bullet zinging past her head. And in the midst of all this turmoil – our mainstream media was preoccupied and almost giddy with the prospect of the imminent legalization of marijuana in Canada. What a mess!

“It’s Holy Week,” I muttered under my breath as I headed for the barn. A Christian’s thoughts should be focused on higher places than the laundry room floor or disturbing news reports.

I trudged past the shed and glanced toward the west. The sun was low on the horizon, casting a shimmering aura of gold, pink and orange. And there – right next to that fiery ball – an enormous white cross dissected the glow. I stopped to take it in. Was it intersecting vapour trails? A random cloud formation?  No. There was nothing left to chance here.

Come and see
I hurried into the barn and called to Jack, “Did you see the cross in the sunset?”

A muffled reply came from the far end of the building. “What?”

“The cross!” I shouted. “There’s a cross in the sunset. Come and see.”

Together we walked out the back door and gazed past the manure pile (mark the irony here), to the magnificent display on the western horizon. We stood there for a few minutes absorbing the beauty. “Do you think it was a sky writer, like in Florida?” said Jack.

“I doubt it,” I said. “Pretty sure we know the artist, though.” I ran back to the house to fetch my camera, but to no avail. The radiance of the sun washed out the cross in my lens and I couldn’t capture it. Apparently it was a sight meant to behold only at the moment. That being said, I suspect it will stay with me for the rest of my days. The Psalmist’s words had come true in front of my eyes, “The heavens declare the glory of God.”

Most of the time we have such limited vision from our place on this planet. The world bombards us with suffering and violence. Injustice overflows. Perversity abounds. We scurry and struggle and fret. Distraction and discouragement suck the life out of us. Although we might not say it aloud, the question looms large – where is God in all this? And then, as he did with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, he gently lifts our heads and says, “I’m right here, where I’ve always been – before you, behind you, beside you.”

That’s when the blinders fall off and eyes of faith cannot help but see the truth writ large – sometimes like a heavenly exclamation point, emblazoned in the beams of a sunset.

About the Author
Right before  my eyes!

Heidi VanderSlikke, Columnist

Heidi grew up in the Niagara Peninsula with dreams of becoming a writer. But she took a paying job instead. Working as a bookkeeper led to studies in accounting and credit management, all of which proved to be very practical when she married Jack—her Prince Farming—in 1978. They have lived happily ever after (most of the time) on their farm in Mapleton Township, Ontario. They have three grown children and (so far) one incredibly cute grandson. For the last 10 years Heidi has been a columnist for Christian Courier, as well as having written short stories, devotionals and articles for other publications. She is a professional member of The Word Guild. She enjoys the outdoors, animals, photography, reading and motorcycles. She and Jack have ridden to Canada’s east coast and through various parts of the US, including the Florida Everglades. They hope to one day take their bikes across Canada to British Columbia. In the meantime, she continues to write about what she loves best—faith, family and farm life.