“[God] will cover you with his feathers,
And under his wings you can hide.”
—Psalm 91:4 (NCV)
Though the imagery in Psalm 91:4 reminds me of a mother hen, it calls to mind my dad, my protector as I grew up. He and I shared a joyous, close relationship as far back as I can remember. When I was 7, Daddy was plowing the garden, and I delightedly ran behind him, tramping down the soil he’d just tilled. Unfortunately, he plowed up a nest of yellow jackets (wasps), and they swarmed around us. Daddy said, “Anne, go to the house NOW!” If I had obeyed him, I might have been better off, but instead I replied, “Ah, Daddy, they’re just flies.”
So the yellow jackets swarmed all over us. We ran up the hill toward our house as Daddy tried to keep the wasps off me. (To a college student pastor who was living with us that summer and was looking out the window, it appeared that Daddy was beating me on my back.) My mom knew something was wrong, because Daddy never punished me physically. She told the college student, “Ted, get the car keys!” She met us at the corner of the house, carrying a wash cloth and ice. We jumped into the car and Ted drove, and off we rushed to the local hospital’s emergency room.
In the blur of activity that followed, I remember my mom putting ice on my stings and using the wash cloth to pull yellow jackets from my hair. (Yes, she was protective too.) Sitting in the car’s front seat, Daddy he turned around and asked with concern, “How’s she doing?” By the time our car reached the bottom of our hilly street, his voice sounded funny. His throat and tongue were swelling in an anaphylactic reaction to the stings he’d gotten.
When we reached the emergency room, a nurse quickly assessed us. She decided I was okay, but Daddy needed quick treatment. Medical personnel rushed him back to an examination room and gave him an injection to stop his life-threatening reaction. Later we counted the number of stings we had received—I had 39, while Daddy had only 11. Over the next few days, Dad and I comforted each other as we recovered from the venom of the wasp stings.
My dad was already my hero, but this incident served to make him a superhero in my eyes. He was my mentor in faith, my protector, my first picture of what God is like. I was fortunate to have him in my life until I was 58 years old; he was almost 94 when he died.
In my mind’s eye I sometimes picture God looking at us, checking in just as a parent looks in on a child to see that all is well. When we spend time with God, we can sometimes sense moments when God feels so close that we can almost reach out and touch God’s face. These are the times that make life worthwhile.
Anne Trudel is a writer and editor living in Nashville, Tennessee. She enjoys the outdoors, reminiscing about her parents, and learning more about the natural world, where she feels closest to God.
The title of this blog post was inspired by the music of Kyle Matthews. For more information, see kylematthews.com. “Sometimes I Picture God That Way” is a song on his Sing Down album.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”