1 Thessalonians 4:17 – After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (NIV)
I live near Palm Springs, California, USA. Every year during the fall, we see beautiful groupings of snow geese arriving, after what must be a physically exhausting flight. As they gracefully wend their way in formation to springs and lakes throughout southern California and Mexico, they have come almost 1,500 miles! We often see 30 or 40 arriving in perfect formation, flying about 100 feet above the ground. It is an awe-inspiring sight.
But it is nothing like the leaving I witnessed earlier this year when all these separate V-formations massed, as if they had heard a clarion call, to form themselves into a spectacular cloud of geese swirling effortlessly on a rising hot air cyclone to fill the sky with 10,000 or more bodies riding effortlessly upward. These graceful birds hardly move as they are carried aloft, as if they are being thrust into the heavens by some grand and magnificent force. From a distance, the formation resembles a great cumulus thunderhead, moving upward, and yet strangely still, until it reaches the top of Mount San Jacinto, an altitude of more than 7,000 feet. At the very top, spectacular V-formations of about 100 birds peel off to begin their instinctive flights toward their homes in Canada.
What a spectacle! I wish everyone could witness it!
It calls forth a vision of today's Scripture, which declares that Christ will return in the clouds, to come for us who are alive. I can visualize a great host, clothed in white, welcoming those of us who are being caught up in a wonderful swirl of clouds made up of all the saints of all times. Maybe God gave us the ascending geese to help us picture this event, which will happen when the trumpet sounds, and we are caught up!
Isn't it sad for any geese that miss this amazing experience, and are left to spend the summer in the hot desert! The geese are programmed to make their annual flight, but must make a choice. We also must make a choice. God grant that we may realize the importance of that choice, and choose to go on an adventure beyond our wildest imagination. Be ready!
Prayer: Our God, thank You for the beautiful examples from Your creation that let us realize that You have made us for Your purposes. Help us to love You, and to realize that You want to be more than our God — You want to be our most intimate friend. Lift us upward, we pray. We love You. Amen.