I love long drives. Okay, so not all long drives (more than about 2 hours each way and I start to get a little testy), but on Friday I drove from Richmond to Charlottesville, which is not so bad, and wow, did I get a show along the way. The leaves are all either at their peak of color or close to it, and they were the most brilliant shades of crimson red, dusky gold, and fiery orange. I probably looked pretty silly to the other drivers, as I was driving down the road just gazing out the windows with this big stupid grin on my face. But fall has always been my favorite time of year, and there is something about the autumn leaves that just brings me such joy. As I was driving I felt like I was driving through an art gallery with the most breathtaking paintings created by the finest Artist ever to set a brush to a canvas.
Today I took another long drive with more magnificent scenery on my way out to my in-laws' home in the country, but the most magnificent scene was when it was time to start the drive back home, and it was dark. I was just putting the children in the car when I happened to glance up, and the vast night sky was absolutely sparkling with stars. I actually stopped what I was doing and just stood there staring up into the twinkling sky, and I think my husband put the kids in the car, because as I was gazing I felt him touch my arm and tell me it was time to go. It was hard to leave- you just don't get to see stars like that in the suburbs where we live. I think I even saw the Milky Way stretched out above me. I could have just taken a blanket and sat out there all night taking in the wonder of that majestic sky.
All of this got me thinking, and I remembered the words to a favorite hymn:
For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies
For the joy which from our birth over and around us lies
Lord of all to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise
Those simple words seem to encompass my feelings when I see the Lord's creations. And I realized- the most beautiful things on this earth are not man-made. And they are all around us- "for the joy which from our birth over and around us lies." We don't have to search too hard for it- it lies around us, above us, and within us. True beauty comes from those things that are made by God and are in His Hands.
You know the best part? God made each of us. We are His children, made in His own image, created for His divine purposes. The only problem is that we try to mess with what He made. The trees don't try to paint themselves to be beautiful. They are in God's hands and they give Him free reign, awaiting all year their moment to shine, when He allows them to be more than they could ever be on their own. They go through winter, where their branches are bare, and they are not much to look at; they start to show promise in spring, when buds begin to flower; then the buds fade into the greenery of summer, which becomes merely a backdrop for flowers to bloom. But in autumn- they are in the spotlight.
Likewise, the stars do not shine for us all the time. They are covered up by clouds and smog, washed out by the glare of city lights, and fade every morning with the coming dawn. But they don't try to come closer to earth so we can see them better, and they don't try to push away the clouds or shut off the city lights. They wait patiently for their moment to shine, and then when they do- what a brilliant sight it is.
We all go through seasons in our lives when we feel less than we could be. We search for ourselves in self-help books, trying this new method or that. We look for approval and accolades from our friends and family, but we forget that if we simply put our lives in His hands, that He can make more of us than we ever could on our own. We must be patient and wait for our moment to shine, but when we do- He will show us that we are truly sons and daughters of the Master.
Let's be like those splendid trees and marvelous stars, waiting patiently on the Lord, for when we give our lives to Him, He will make us shine brighter than we could ever know.