Donald Miller once wrote “all the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried.”
I can’t tell you how much time has passed since I first read those words, but I can tell you that they still leave me in a mixed state of awestruck and convicted. I keep coming back to them.
I have always loved Autumn. Nothing quite compares to the way blue sky stretches to meet crinkly mustard and burnt sienna, and the swaying motion of crisp terra cotta as it dives towards the ground. Its all incredibly beautiful, but there is a much darker side: creeping death is at work. Soon, the trees will be skeletons, shivering in biting gray wind.
The earth is unafraid of what is about to take place. She does not struggle to maintain her grip.
Oh, how I have been afraid, and struggled to maintain my grip.
In the opening chapter of Romans, Paul tells the church at Rome that there is no excuse for not knowing God, when His glory can be found everywhere. By taking a look around us, His divine presence should be evident enough.
Christ tells us to consider the birds, how they don’t sow or reap or gather, and yet the Lord sustains them. Will He not provide for us, His children, in the same way? And look at the lilies, they don’t toil or spin, and yet they are dressed more beautifully than even the richest of kings. Simple grass, here today and gone tomorrow. How much more does Father God care for us? He knows what we need, and longs to be gracious.
Donald continues, “teach us what the flowers already know: that we’ll live and die, and You’ll clothe us — all for your glory.”
Eyes brim as I recall in scripture where it says that He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. Even when I’m falling, even when it seems like I have been forgotten and all hope seems lost. Even when the pain of winter is so bitter, and springtime seems so far away. He is holding me together.
Is this not reason enough to praise?
Christ said that if we cease praising, the very rocks will cry out.
This is the testimony of creation: that we don’t have to worry about what may come tomorrow. Creation testifies to the heart of the Creator.
A friend tweets “Study God as Creator, because if He made you, then He can keep you, and if He can keep you, then He can always reach you. He’s strong enough to love you.”
God as Creator: His name literally means “the sound of breathing.” He spoke, breathed His life image into the world and all that is went through the process of becoming. He spoke perfection: once broken, but never beyond His reach. The Word became flesh, but even his own failed to recognize him, and how often do I err in the same way? How frequently do I go through my days without realizing the evidence of a grace-torn curtain, His glory unleashed?
Christ, entirely familiar with my afflictions, and yet without sin. He took my punishment. How could that be insufficient? And how much does He, who went to the ends of the earth to save once and for all, desire to bless with all things?
Knowing this, receiving it, is how we begin to live a life like the lilies, a life that wholly recognizes the sovereignty of God. The lilies live open, stretched upward, as though to say that they are ready to receive the grace.
He’s holding me together, in His love and mercy. He knows what I need before I ask. Nothing that happens here catches Him off guard — and all those nagging “what ifs” and all the creeping, crippling fear have no place when we rest in His presence, when we listen to the truth that He is speaking over us: that we are always loved, always within reach.