A couple of days ago my mom and I were driving around with my kids admiring the endless displays of brilliant fall colors. As we drove around one bend, we were welcomed into the presence of warm, orange and yellow leaves enveloping us like a gentle hug and then waving us on into the next glorious autumn scene. Evergreens stood tall like unwavering soldiers perfectly aligned in front of an army of deciduous trees dressed in multicolored uniforms that were anything but uniform. One road led us through an iridescent green tree tunnel. Like a stain glass window, the transparent tops of the leaves created a ceiling of purple hues to filter out the radiant sunlight. The tunnel seemed to spiral out as we neared the exit. Decrescendo. Pianissimo… In wow, we quietly exited the tunnel into a forte of wide open corn fields waving in the breeze to the Conductor’s lead. Their subtle tan colors glorified the radiant foliage that covered the distant rolling hills. One landscape contained sparkling blue waters surrounded by villages with church steeples peeking up through the colorful treetops. Another setting was that of an old lonely church that presumably a hay farmer couldn’t part with. It stood tall among the green grass nestled in front the thick vibrant woods.
The countryside did not horde all of the beauty. One of our best photo ops came from being parked at a gas station. Another picturesque view came from driving to the top of a ski resort looking down on the colorful treetops of a Michigan valley.
Exiting the ski resort, we drove straight for miles and miles up and down hills lined with abundantly more decorative trees and winding rivers. As we were driving my mom said, “You know, God could have just made leaves turn brown and fall to the ground. But He didn’t. He gave us color.”
Yesterday it rained. At first I was disappointed that we couldn’t go for another fall color tour, but the day contained a different kind of beauty. It was a day filled with precious memories of playing games, Mimi taking a couple trips to the store with one kid at a time, baking pumpkin muffins, filling freezer bags with homemade apple sauce, watching Hannah show us her ballet moves and the boys their Tae Kwon Do forms, playing with Essie on the floor, reading a good book, and taking a much needed nap. Even rainy days have their abundance of joy.
This morning was cool and crisp. On our way to a homeschooling activity we drove through rising fog and endless ohhs and ahhhs of leaves that seemed to be radiating their own light like an enchanting Christmas display. As we drove, I thought again about what my mother had said. “God didn’t have to make leaves change into brilliant colors. He could have caused them to turn brown and fall to the ground.”
As I pondered this, I thought of the verse from John 10:10. “Jesus said, ‘…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.’” In fact, there are so many things – not just leaves – that God could have designed just for function. But He didn’t. So many things that are designed for our survival were also laced with beauty. Life – and life abundantly. So, if you’ve ever found yourself questioning the goodness of God, just remember…
There’s food, AND there’s taste.
There’s breathing, AND there’s smell.
There’s reproduction, AND there’s orgasm.
There’s hearing, AND there’s music.
There’s sight, AND there’s beauty.
There’s night, AND there are stars.
There’s winter, AND there’s snow.
There’s spring, AND there are flowers.
There’s summer, AND there’s water.
There’s fall, AND there are colors.
There’s living, AND there’s love.
There’s dying, AND there’s hope.
There’s life, AND life abundantly.