2 Corinthians 12:9
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Thought for the Day: Look at God’s nature around you and see that the beauty we observe most is in the unusual.
God led me to a new place of beauty yesterday as I drove a few miles to another park. Fort Yargo State Park is a beautiful place where wildlife roam and where the trees stand in their magnificent way growing into the sky. Walking a trail through a nature park was serene as I walked to observe the different sights and sounds it had to offer. I observed beautiful trees and how some of them grew in unusual shapes obviously having changes during times of growth. I saw the many different types of trees with the leaves of different colors, some intertwined with other types of leaves all living together. The most distinct thing I observed with my eyes and my ears was in the falling of the leaves. The beauty as the leaves fell, some falling right on my head, felt like a gift from heaven in the way each leaf moved with the direction of the breeze. Even more of a gift was the sound the leaves made as they softly touched the ground. The beauty of this park came to me as I found myself close to the beauty and feeling God close to me as the leaves fell on me and as I found myself under the canopy of trees to see the unique beauty of the tree trunks. The beauty came from within.
God created the mountains and hills, He created the lakes and the streams, He created the natural life in animals and trees, and He created us. In His creation, He made it where the magnificence of His creation comes from the events in life that are hard. The unusual shapes observed in the unusual turns and twists of the tree trunks remind me that even the trees drew their beauty from the hard times when something happened to make them grow in such different ways. The branches of the trees mixed in with branches of other types of trees brought beauty as the colors also mixed into each other. My eyes were drawn to the colors, not because they were perfect, but because of the mixture of the colors. Then, of course, my eyes and ears were drawn to the falling leaves. Those leaves have gone through their life cycle beginning with a tiny bud in the spring, to beautiful lush leaves in the summer, and then leaving its life on that branch to fall beautifully to the ground in the fall. That, of course, reminds me of our lives where we begin so small and insignificant, then grow with strength to be so lush and full in our middle age, then the time comes when our true beauty appears in the changing of leaves because of age and the wisdom that brings. As I stood under the tree as many leaves fell, I realized that God breathed that last breath right before the leaves began their last journey. The most beautiful thought of all is that even before God led them home, He had already prepared the trees to begin budding for the next generation of leaves to appear. As we live this life and experience our “unusual” and hard times, we, in a way, are helping God to prepare for those to come. The beauty of nature came from within.
Prayer: God, thank you for reminding us through the beauty of nature of how special we are. Your creation and the way you let living things change with the easy and hard times of life help us understand the lives we live. Help us remember that much of our beauty comes from the times of hardship. Thank you for creating us in such a special way. Amen.
Prayer Focus: Those living through hardships