A fox lives in our neighborhood. When we first moved here, some children we met on a sunny walk to the store told us about him. They thought his den was by the ditch. We looked for it, but never saw it.
Some months later my children, who do not drive and do not have to pay attention to the road, saw a tail bobbing up and down above the long grass in the overgrown fields near our house. They told me, excited, but I looked too late. This happened a few times. I thought I saw it once, but I wasn’t sure.
Then one night, when the moon was bright in the sky, I saw the fox. The car headlights lit up a muddy section with no grass. The fox crossed before us, carrying something in its mouth, and we held our breath as we watched it. This time we could see the fox in its entirety. It was not just a tail; it was the whole beast in the magical grays of moonlight.
Today, I saw the fox in daylight. He was beautiful, a ruddy brown with black socks and a black-tipped tail, his gorgeous fur a shock against the green lawn of the house on the edge of the field. His intelligence and grace took me by surprise.
There is such a difference between hoping that you really saw what you thought you did, in the darkness, and seeing it, glorious and startling, in broad daylight. As lovely as it was, even the vision of the fox under the full moon paled in comparison. And that is a reason for joy.
The Bible says something about our perceptions, about that difference between wishing and reality. “What is perfect will someday appear,” it promises. “Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face.” (I Cor. 13:10,12, CEV)
I loved seeing that fox. But I long to see the One who created foxes, and all creatures, most of all.