After days of rain and gray and even a day in which four inches of snow fell last week, (it’s all melted now) the sun has made the trees on our street blaze with glory. In a strange letting go the above maple tree often drops all its leaves at once. On a windless day in less than three hours it can cover everything beneath it with a layer of radiant yellow. I marvel every time and Denis and I yell at each other to COME LOOK! Then the tree recedes to gray to dead black for winter. Until one day in March, or maybe April, we will waken and notice what didn’t seem to be there just the day before, the faintest haze of color, a sort of burgundy from thousands of buds that wakened while we slept, and then we realize they were sneaking up on us, resting, growing all the while.
Denis has been in Lake Zurich for a week staying with our daughter and Aunt Ruth. I’m going to them tomorrow, hoping to bring a bit of “home” with me. It’s been a hard week with unwelcome sorrows for them. What am I saying? Is sorrow ever welcome? It’s during such times, even though I reject the prosperity gospel, I’m most tempted to pray that God will bring health, wealth, and personal happiness to our immediate family and everyone I love. But in countless ways I’ve found this to be not the pattern or desire God has in mind for us. Again and again, God comes to us in the wilderness, when things look dead or dying, when we are without hope or a way forward, he comes saying, I am your “hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place.” And as if all this comfort is not enough, and in case we don’t really GET it: He ends with, to you I’ll be “like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.” (Is. 32:2) It fascinates me that each of these scenes represent precarious, uncertain, life-sucking, unwelcoming places. So we turn to Him certain, that in our own sinful and saddened dispositions we will find shelter and hope, and it may not be the kind of shelter or rescue we expect, but we keep reminding ourselves that one day, one day, everything will be restored to the glory God intended for it to have. Just like that maple tree that is fiercely blazing its heart out my window today. Only, it’ll be forever. I like that.