We once lived on a hillside facing a small wood. In the fall, the bush across from our house would be 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 rains would eventually do their damage; the trees would look more grey and dismal by the day as their colour was stripped away. Soon there would be nothing but barren tree trunks with the odd withered leaf hanging on.
Just as darkness was falling one 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 were gone, they were showing through the trees. As I watched, it became a delightful dance of light. The next morning I noticed, not the barren trees, but the view emerging beyond them. With the foliage disappearing, the river valley was emerging. I could already see the main street. Soon the river would be visible, and the bridge that connected the two halves of the town. Soon I’d 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 Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords or on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format on Amazon.
Her most recent release is Celebrate This Day, a devotional book for special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving.
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