The quotation marks in the title (incorrectly) designate that the title of the meditation is a book, not just a few words hung atop a meditation—but what you're about to read is not a marketing ploy.
Several years ago I published a collection of a woman’s letters and notes and journal entries, which is titled, on the basis of this verse from Psalm 57, In His Feathers. It was published in very low numbers because, try as I might, I couldn’t find a big publisher—well, let’s broaden that a bit: I couldn’t find an editor or an agent even willing to read the manuscript.
Why wouldn’t anyone look? It's the story of a woman’s battle with cancer, ovarian cancer. Sharon Wagonaar Bomgaars died in 2003, just a few years after diagnosis, which means In His Feathers is, I suppose, to big publishers just another memoir by a nobody. If Sharon had been a celebrity—if she’d been featured on Good Morning America, or—the big enchilada, Oprah, we would have had no trouble finding a publisher.
Sharon was a loving wife and mother, a thoughtful, honest, committed Christian, an inveterate journal-keeper who recorded every last sorrow and joy. Listen to her thoughts as she sat at the keyboard for the very last time:
This morning [my husband] brought me a half-cup of pear juice with ice. I took a sip and a tiny piece of pear had slipped through the sieve. I caught it on my tongue. I squeezed that little gritty fragment lovingly. It smoothed into nothingness and it was so good! I squeezed each lovely sip and rolled it around on my tongue. Then I let it slide slowly down my throat. Pear juice, delicious pear juice, squeezed from pears grown on some tree in dusty California, and now bringing me all its sun-warmed sweetness. What a gift!
God is so good to give us such pleasures in this sin- sick world. I love God's gifts! I love his peaches, and pears, and grapes, and strawberries, and apples! I love his wet, sweet, juicy creations! What an awesome God!Twenty-one days later, she left all the sweet, juicy creations behind.
Forgive my bitterness and even my jealousy, because I do wish the book would be featured on Oprah. But its failure to find a publisher may well be itself a reason to praise God. Thousands upon thousands of stories like Sharon’s exist, stories of real people who took or take abiding refuge beneath the wings of God almighty.
Somehow, I think Sharon would like me to say what’s in my heart—that the glory and power of this single line from Psalm 57 is that it is true, true until the day we die, and then on into eternity. And the proof is in the numbers: there are so many Sharon Bomgaars' stories.
The truth of Sharon’s story is in this plaintive song of the poet/king. Refuge, as David knew, even as he sang this line, is under his wings and in his feathers.