Fall is my favorite season of the year. Mostly I love the transformation of foliage into beautiful shades of yellow, red, and orange. Although spring’s blossoms are certainly lovely, there is something bold and deeply stirring about fall colors that warms my entire being. You can imagine my disappointment this year, then, when the forecasters warned us the fall foliage would likely be less vibrant this fall due to the drought we experienced at the end of the summer and into the beginning of fall in our area. I had already seen evidence of this disappointment as some of my favorite trees turned straight from green to brown – or even a grayish brown, as if their color had been drained.
But last week, driving home from a long meeting, I turned a corner I rarely travel as the sun was lowering, when I gasped. A tall tree had turned a brilliant shade of yellow, every leaf singing a beautiful song, as the sun made the tree dance in a radiant glow. The sight was so stunning, I found tears prickling in the corners of my eye, and a tightness I had not realized was in my chest dissolving away. The tree was a magnificent gift, ready for the receiving of anyone who would have it.
I was thinking how similar God’s love for us is. We so often lower our expectations with the slightest hint of scarcity, bracing ourselves so we do not experience loneliness, disappointment, or sadness. We do not even notice the slow development of our guardedness, and before we realize it, we cut ourselves off to others. But God is not easily deterred. Out of the blue, we find ourselves sideswiped by God’s love – some unexpected act of kindness by another, an undeserved gift, or an observed moment between others that restores our hope in humanity – and we realize how God’s love is there all along, shining brilliantly. And when we stubbornly slip into a theology of scarcity or a closed-off sense of abandonment, God shows up with such force that we cannot help but see abundance and love all around us.
I invite you today to find your own moment of God’s love and beauty. Whether it is in a brilliantly glorious display of fall foliage, a sacred act of kindness between strangers, or a moment of appreciation for the gift of this day, I invite you to look for God today. But be forewarned: once you finally see that God-moment today, you are likely to start seeing a lot more of them in the little, shocking, overwhelming, mundane, beautiful moments of life. I cannot wait to hear how God is warming your heart today!