Thankful

We had been driving for a while.  We had seen many amazing things. Peering across acres of grassland we had spotted a variety of animals – zebra, wildebeest, impala .,, all beautiful in the early morning sunlight.

Travelling west, the countryside ahead of us possessed a clarity after the rains of the previous day, and the light was perfect for photographs.  But what we were to witness in the next few moments was too remarkable for us to take photos.

We spotted them about a 500m ahead of us. A herd of giraffe, browsing in the trees,  As we exclaimed at the beauty of the sight they all sprang to attention and stared up the hill towards the track on which we were to travel.  As one, they turned and began to run through the grassland, stretching out legs and necks they galloped at full speed away from their delicious trees.  The large male allowed the smaller animals to run on and stopped and turned to see whether the danger, whatever it was, still threatened them.  He stood, tense, ready for action.  Fight or flight, we wondered.  But his body relaxed and his companions slowed.  How had he communicated with them? He turned and walked towards them, and they once again began to browse on the small trees that now surrounded them, their long necks bent to pull the delectable leaves from the short thorny bushes.

We continued on our way.  We had a destination in mind – a drive of about five kilometres which, under normal circumstances, would take about ten minutes in this place where the speed limit is so low.

But that was without interruptions.  And as we rounded a corner we saw, coming towards us, perhaps the biggest interruption in our world at that time.

For here was the threat the giraffe had detected.

A lioness and her young cub paced towards us along the track.  Unperturbed by our presence, she padded along the road, stopping now and again to let her youngster catch up.  The little one was taking her time and even sat on the side of the road for a while to rest.  With all the patience (and time) in the world, the mother waited until her daughter was ready to move on and they continued their stroll.

As the adult approached our vehicle we stopped breathing.  She was magnificent, her coat tawny, her eyes bright, taking in her surroundings.  She drew level with us and stopped, looking directly at us, taking in any possible threat we may pose to herself and her cub. No one moved. No one even breathed.  The only sound was cameras clicking softly as some recorded the moment.  I just sat and watched.  She was only five metres away.  Much larger than I had imagined. I knew no photo would recall the magic of the moment; the thrill of fear as I looked straight into the eyes of a fully grown lion.

Amber eyes,

Penetrating and focused.

Was she assessing the possibility of an easy breakfast?

But she is used to seeing people sitting quietly in a vehicle and we did not appear to pose a threat. So she glanced back, checking the progress of her baby, and walked past us, her huge feet leaving pug marks in the mud the size of side plates. The youngster, who had also paused when her mother did, picked up speed and, with a wary eye on us as she passed us, trotted on. Together they went on their way as we strained to watch them until they were hidden from sight.

The wonder of the moment painted our day with colour.  We saw other wonderful things.  But that second, when I gazed into the eyes of a lioness as she stared at me is one I will never forget.  If I had been taking photos I may have missed the thrill of the moment.  Some experiences are too exceptional to capture as a picture and have to be felt rather than seen.  I am glad I don’t have a picture, for the images in my mind and the emotion I felt will stay forever, captured now in the written word.

I love being a writer!

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Abundant Life, Christian growth, Christian hope, Christian Living, Christian meditation, Christian writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Praise

I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing the praises of Your Name, O Most High. Psalm 9:2

Today you are invited to just do it! In whatever ways you can, be glad and rejoice in God, singing His praise throughout your day.

May God bless you as you rejoice in Him and praise Him all day long.

Posted in Abundant Life, Christian growth, Christian hope, Christian Living, Christian meditation, Daily devotional, You are Invited | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shine

Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy Psalm 4:6-7

Today you are invited to consider how the light of God’s face shines upon you and fills you with joy. Where do you see God’s light in the little things of life? How brightly does He shine in the big events that surround you at the moment? Is your heart full of joy or sadness? How does God’s presence in your life reflect in the way you feel? Speak to God today and pray this verse to Him. Then sit for a while and let Him shine upon you and fill your heart with joy.

May God bless you with His joy today as He shines upon you.

Posted in Abundant Life, Christian growth, Christian hope, Christian Living, Christian meditation, Daily devotional, You are Invited | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strength

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Today you are invited to consider how God gives the gift of joy, even in the midst of grief. For those who have experienced this, praise God that you know this is so, and share this good news with someone else today. For those for whom this seems to be an impossible contradiction, bring your sadness to God today and ask Him to give you His joy. It does not make sense; it may not seem possible; but the joy of the Lord is a seed which will grow and bloom and bear fruit if you will open your heart and your hands to receive it, even in the midst of your sadness.

May God bless you with His joy today, for it is your strength.

Posted in Christian growth, Christian hope, Christian Living, Christian meditation, Daily devotional, You are Invited | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sing

Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth. 1 Chronicles 16:33

Today you are invited to look at the trees. Wherever you live in the world spend a moment looking at the trees.  Are they stark against snow-filled skies, or bursting with life in the heat of a summer’s day? What do they say to you today about God? What message does He have for you through His trees, that sing for joy before Him?

May God bless you with an awareness of His love for you as you consider His creation today.

Posted in Abundant Life, Christian growth, Christian hope, Christian Living, Christian meditation, Daily devotional, You are Invited | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gladness

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad, let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!’ 1 Chronicles 16:31

In these uncertain times, you are invited to think about what this verse says to you today. If the heavens are rejoicing and the earth is glad because the Lord reigns, how are you feeling? What overriding emotion is colouring your life at the moment? Speak to God about your feelings today, and give them to Him. What does He reply to you, and how does He bless you with His reply? At the end of your day, look back and see how God has acted in your life. How do you feel now?

May God bless you with undercurrents of joy and peace as you give your emotions to Him today.

Posted in Abundant Life, Christian growth, Christian hope, Christian Living, Christian meditation, Daily devotional, You are Invited | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giraffes

“Do you know giraffes eat bones?”

I glanced sideways at my companion, prepared to see him try to hide his grin as he tried to shock me into a gullible response. But he wasn’t looking at me at all. He was negotiating the slippery, rain-slicked mud of the track we were following as he steered around puddles which may be disguising submerged hazards.

“They do, you know,” he continued in the absence of any reply.

“Really?” My response was hesitant. I was still not convinced he was serious.

“Yes. They chew on them to release the calcium they contain.”

“That’s interesting. I thought they just ate leaves and stuff.”  I showed off my limited knowledge to my much more experienced companions.

“Yes, they do.  But they do eat bones too.  In fact, I mentioned it to a friend once and we rounded a corner and there was a giraffe doing just that.”

We laughed at the coincidence and I and my fellow passenger turned our attention to the two female giraffes we were approaching, which had sparked the conversation.  I was pleased to see they were eating leaves, just as I had thought.  My driving companion switched off the engine and we sat in silence as the rain fell around us, marvelling at the paleness of the markings on the animals’ sides, and at the different patterns each had.  One had brown patches in squarish shapes; the other had fawn-coloured patterns that looked like bow-tie pasta.

The giraffe were not worried by our presence until the engine was switched on again. Then they looked up, alarmed and searched the surrounding bush for danger.  When none was apparent they began their stately walk towards the road, and we followed them at a respectful distance for fifty metres or so.

The front giraffe continued to walk but the smaller one stopped and we watched in awe as she bent her long neck to the ground.  What a miracle of creation she was.  What imagination designed her! Legs splayed wide, her head dropped lower and lower until she grasped a mouthful of grass.  As she raised her head again with a mouthful of long, trailing vegetation, we commented on the rarity of the sight.  We had all seen giraffe drinking at some point in our lives, but not grazing grass.  As we watched something white fell to the ground, together with some of the grass.  The giraffe continued to chew as she turned and followed her companion along the road.

We drove the fifty metres that had separated us and stopped to examine the ground.  And there they were.

Bones.

The site of some earlier kill, and bones scattered around.  Our giraffe had picked up some bone! A chunk of it had fallen from her mouth but she continued to chew the rest as she walked away from us.

We looked at one another in amazement.

“Now,” said our driver, “what would you like to see next?  Just say and we’ll arrange it.”  We laughed together as we drove away.

“Darling, remind me to pay that giraffe later,” he said to his wife, and we chuckled all the way back to the road.

What a moment!  A simple sighting at the right place at the right time.

Do you know giraffe eat bones?

Posted in Abundant Life, Christian growth, Christian hope, Christian Living, Christian meditation, Christian writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment