We travel south on a Minnesota highway, through a landscape of blades, turning, turning. They’re everywhere, these gigantic Ys, all pointing heavenward.
I snap a photo with my iPhone:
“Look, Mom,” one daughter announces from the back seat. “Ys. Everywhere!”
We are in the habit of seeing these Ys decorating our world — Ys in tree branches and sidewalk cracks and airplane contrails … and even in our own veins.
These Ys are reminders of Yahweh, and when I see them, they interrupt my thoughts. And that is good. These Ys hold my mind absolutely captive to the King. It’s like magic, I tell you.
Here’s the deal: I have never been able to multitask my thoughts. I can only track one thing at a time. So when I’m looking outward toward Yahweh, I simply cannot focus inward toward the self.
Ys keep me Yahweh-focused, cross-minded, Savior-centered.
The very first Y that captured my attention was a scar, stitched up on my leg after a car collision on an icy January morning in 2009. I walked away, miraculously, with only one minor injury, a cut to the leg. The doctor stitched the wound into a Y.
I felt marked by Yahweh, and I prayed that the scar would never go away. The scar has begun to fade, but the Y-reminders have not.
Three years and thousands of Ys later, God is still dropping reminders all over creation. They are simple reminders that point to jaw-dropping truth: God is actually and miraculously here. He is not an absentee landlord of Earth, or an off-site project manager, or the uncle who only remembers your birthday every other year. No, He is actually right here, with us. Emmanuel. God With Us.
I know that God isn’t the windmill. I don’t worship the windmill. Or the tree branch or the Y in the sidewalk. But the symbol is the trigger to remember the very present nature of our God.
God knows we need everyday reminders and symbols to keep our scatter-brained selves Christ-focused. We only need to attend church on a Sunday morning to see that it works:
We see a cross; we think of Christ.
We smell grape juice or wine; we remember how sweet our forgiveness.
Water = new life.
The smell of wax, a sanctuary.
A rainbow, God’s promise.
A dove, His Holy Spirit.
Nails, a Savior’s sacrifice.
They are all triggers: a candle flame, a favorite hymn, a loaf of bread, a pillar of cloud, an olive branch, a crown, a purple cloth, a gold band around the finger. They are visible markers of an invisible God. Symbols and triggers that point to something greater.
They are often found in more lowly places, far away from the decorated sanctuaries. Look at the craggy stones, and the dandelions, and the wiry spider webs, and the twinkling stars, and strutting peacocks. All of them, small miracles, … and reminders of the creative genius of a loving Father.
Our world is crammed with burning bushes in our backyards and basements and barns. At every Y-fork in the road, we have an opportunity to spy God.
The dark cloud hovering over you may well be a reminder that God is near. Is HERE!
And, then, behold: these symbols supernaturally pull the focus from self to Savior.
We can look for the Ys, but often they come looking for you —
In the passenger seat of the Acadia, I turn my gaze away from the Y-windmills and check Facebook on the iPhone. (It never takes long for my mind to wander back to the self.) And right there, it is: The first item on my news feed is this, a photo from my friend, Patricia, who spied the glory of God in a blade of grass:
And then another:
And there are more. I gasp at them all.
(Patricia writes, “This one kind of says, “He’s everywhere!” Doesn’t it?”) :
On that Minnesota highway, we keep rolling south, past Ys in fields and roads and clouds and trees … and Facebook. I could simply roll right by it all. Or I could live more fully in the moment, worshipping this God who woos with abundant wonders, all pointing upward like so many blades on grass.
Soon, we are home. I hold the phone to my ear, to listen to phone messages.
A friend left this one —
She had been in a car accident while we were away, and she asked if we could talk. No one was hurt badly, but she was remembering something about a car accident I had been in years earlier, and something about the way, in the end, that I had counted it a blessing.
“It was something about all those Ys,” she said. And I nodded.
Something about those Ys, indeed.
Have you come by for GodBumps & God-Incidences? Pick a button here, attach it to your post about the God Things that make you go Hmmmm … then link up! I so love visiting you each week, and try to stop by as many places as I can. Your contributions have been so Yahweh-honoring.