We’ve been raking the beautiful fall leaves in our yard into many a pile over the last week. Are they falling where you live, too? Fall is my favorite season as the leaves become a kaleidoscope of oranges, reds, yellows, greens, and browns. My deck becomes a mosaic crafted by the artistry of our heavenly Father.
Raking leaves is certainly a discipline of time, muscles, and energy but it gives one a chance to ponder. There is the occasional, “Where did Teddy go?!” but, on the whole, it’s pretty peaceful work in the fresh air. As I moved across the yard, I began to notice the different shadings of color in the leaves and the different sizes of the leaves and the different kinds of leaves–it was amazing. It was also amazing how many leaves were still on the trees! At one point, our son tried to rake the branches, and a sifting of leaves fell down on his head. The hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper would have been fitting background music considering the lines “the clouds you so much dread, are big with mercy and shall break with blessing on your head.”
That got me to thinking… What if we looked at each leaf like a blessing from God? Blessings, too, are each unique and come different sizes and different kinds. Some are bright and beautiful and give us the immediate desire to lift up praise. Some are a little dimmer and rumpled. They may resemble trials more than blessings. But don’t trials bring blessing?
Hebrews 12:6-11 discusses how a good father disciplines his son because he loves him, and likewise God disciplines us because He loves us. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons…we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.”
And here in verse 11 is the jewel in the leaf pile: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
The peace of righteousness–what a blessing!
My eyes survey the yard and deck. Leaves continue to fall. The next verse, Hebrews 12:12, is the final encouragement–a pep talk, if you will: “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
Lifted hands take up rakes again. Exercised muscles spread a tarp. Bring on this trial. There’s blessing at the end!