Did you know that fireflies actually fly up into the trees? I can picture myself as a little girl, running around the yard at dusk, catching fireflies. Full of wonder at their blinking glow. Trying to keep them on my hand while they light up again and again. For thirty-two years I was convinced fireflies only fly along the ground, just a couple of feet up. But last summer as I was laying in bed, in our second story bedroom that is literally up in the trees, I saw soft blinking lights. It took me a moment to realize it was fireflies. Twenty or thirty feet off the ground, flying up in the trees! It was such a beautiful sight. Fireflies in the trees.
Tonight as I watch fireflies blink and glow among the leaves, a thought comes to me: some parts of our faith seem so sure for thirty-some years. And then–my goodness–suddenly we realize we’ve journeyed beyond where we think God is. But it isn’t true. God isn’t just two or three feet off the ground. He’s twenty feet up and infiltrating that place too. In fact, He’s always been there–we just didn’t see Him yet.
I’ve known about His grace for years–the childhood-salvation-kind and the high-school-kind and the college-faith-journey-kind. That’s about three feet of grace, maybe up to four or five feet (which felt like an abundance at the time). When we’re ten-years-old, running through the grass at dusk to catch those fireflies, there’s a childlike similarity to the joy and delight we have in God’s grace as a new believer. We don’t even look to see if He’s up there too; we just enjoy Him right at eye level.
But suddenly I’m thirty-three with thirty plus years of failings and failures and humanness piled up. After walking with Jesus all these years, the grace I used to know feels quite low to the ground, while I’m up here with issues and battles and struggles and sins. I need a grace that is twenty feet in the air, not just a couple of feet off the ground. Is He up here too? I am discovering that He is. Hallelujah. That quiet, blinking, glowing presence is up here in the trees. Even after all these years, when I feel like I must surely be getting it all right by now (but I’m not) and the failures of motherhood are another kind altogether (and sometimes they smother me), I still desperately need that grace. And it’s already up here. He’s already here, ready to meet me. Just like fireflies in the trees.