For a time, the bush across from our house was a blaze of gold and russet. When the sun fell on it, the effect was startling, as the colors seemed to glow. But the fall temperatures, winds and rain are doing their damage; the trees are losing their leaves. They are looking more grey and dismal by the day as their colour is stripped away. Soon there will be nothing but barren tree trunks with the odd withered leaf hanging on.
Just as darkness was falling last night, I was looking out my kitchen window, thinking how this time of year can be a bit depressing. Then I noticed a twinkling through the branches. The lights of the town below were coming on, and because most of the leaves are gone, they are showing through the trees. As I watched, it became a delightful dance of light. This morning I noticed, not the barren trees, but the view emerging beyond them. With the foliage disappearing, the river valley is emerging. I can already see the main street. Soon the river will be visible, and the bridge that connects the two halves of the town. Soon I’ll be able to see it all.
There are times in our lives when it feels like everything is being stripped away, when there is no colour left, no joy in the day. At these times it’s hard to see the purpose in what is happening, hard to find meaning in it. But it is often during these hard times that we gain new perspective and begin to see what was hidden. When hard times come, all that is superfluous is stripped away and what is real, what matters, comes into focus. It is often at such times that we are able to see God.
The Bible is peopled with those who were in this situation; lepers cried out to Jesus, blind men groped to be close to Him, the sick reached out just to touch His robe, believing they would be healed. Their hope came from a clear-sightedness that resulted from being in barren places. When all is stripped away, we have an opportunity to shift our perspective and see what lies beyond. It is an opportunity to reach out for God.
But we don’t have to wait for that day. We can gain that perspective at any time, simply by seeking God with a whole-hearted earnestness. One of His greatest promises is found in Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Not only that, but God has also given us a helper. When Jesus left this earth He promised to send His spirit to guide and direct us. That same Spirit is available to us today. He will help us to see what is hidden, to see beyond the distractions of life to what is real and important.
The trees might look beautiful but the view beyond is magnificent.
Marcia Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she lives with her husband, two golden retrievers and a six-toed cat. Visit her website at www.vinemarc.com