Friday, November 13, 2009
Welcome to November in Michigan! This is a picture I shot this morning. We have had a beautiful fall season and the mild weather the past two weeks added to its majesty.
But now things have changed. Most of the leaves have fallen in this area and any leaves remaining are mostly dead, so if you're looking for fall colors, you have to look at the piles of leaves which have been blown to the curb for the city to remove. Within the next couple of weeks, it is very possible that snow will fall and that white blanket of covering will begin a new season of beautiful, clean backdrops as we look from our windows across the freshly covered landscape.
But the small window of time between the symphony of color we call fall and the freshness of snow we call winter is not an overly attractive time in Michigan. It is easy to look at the bare trees and dread the coming snow. It is even easier to look at the neutral colors and fuss over the changing temps (although today is in the 60's and incredibly mild).
But I tend to like this little window of time, because I am fascinated with trees. I have one tree by my house whose trunk has grown in the shape of a curly rotini noodle. There is a tree on Stanton on my drive to church that the whole trunk has twisted over the years that it looks like the dress of a little girl when she stops suddenly from twirling in circles.
Trees easily give glory to God. In the spring their small leaf buds bring with them the promise of new life. I love when whole trees burst with blossoms even before their leaves show up. I have a couple Magnolia trees and I eagerly watch for their buds because they tell me that warm weather is right around the corner. In the summer, the shade of a good tree seems to provide not only covering from the sun, but there always seems to be a breeze in the shade. It's like trees have their own air conditioning systems. In the fall, the colors are spectacular and even breath-taking. Though fall tends to have a lot of rain, occasionally the sun pokes through the clouds and the colors become alive! There are times that I have to stop on my driveway, put the car in park and just soak it up!
But bare trees speak volumes about God. When I look at a bare tree, I see the arms of creation reaching up to its Creator, as if begging to be lifted into His arms. It reminds me of picking up Calvin from the nursery when he was a toddler. The minute he saw me the arms were raised high.
Bare trees also remind me of worship. They know who their Creator is and they offer their worship to Him constantly. Out stretched arms - tree after tree after tree. I don't have to witness to them - they point all men to the Creator. I don't have be a testimony to them - their mere existence shouts glory to God.
Bare trees also remind me of my dependence on God. Those trees have a life cycle and throughout that whole cycle, they depend on God's grace for their existence. Sunshine and rain come only from God and I've never see a tree complain about the temperature. Even stripped bare, the tree sets it sights on its Creator and waits for the season of harshness and struggle to end.
So, my weekend wish for you, I guess it's only for you who live in the north, is that you look at the bare trees as you drive around and don't grumble because the winter is coming. Let your heart be driven to the Lord in praise for these humble plants who tirelessly raise their arms in praise to God. Put some good praise worship on your I-pod and take a walk. Join in the praise, as you follow the lead of the bare trees.
And by the way, it's okay to raise your hands in praise. (This is where I would put a smiley face if I knew how to cut and paste with any proficiency!)