Fall was my mother's favorite time of the year. She loved the crisp air, it was our birthday season, and it was apple picking time (well-apple butter time for Mom!). But what she loved the most about the season were the colors of the changing leaves. Sometimes we would get in the car and ride just so she could look at them. One of our favorite routes was Skyline Drive in Virginia where she would occasionally point at various trees and exclaim:
"Oh look at that one. It's all red"
"That one is all gold"
"Look at the colors on that one"
I would ooohh and aaahh all the while trying to keep my eyes on the road! Sometimes I had no idea exactly which tree she was pointing to but I loved sharing in her excitement.
One Fall day, as my mother's eyesight was worsening due to the effects of illness, my mother and I sat in silence while I was driving to church. Without prelude she asked me "are the trees beautiful?"
Understanding that she could not see them as well as she once could, I responded. "Are there any you can you see?"
"Yes." She said.
"Then those are the most beautiful ones". I said.
She looked at me, smiled and said, "Yes, they are".
There are moments in life when we can put too much focus on the things we feel we have lost rather than focusing on what we have. Loss can be painful. With the recent hurricanes, earthquakes and acts of hatred, evil, and terrorism in the land as witnessed recently in Las Vegas, there are so many who are experiencing tremendous loss. How can we possibly see through the pain, the sorrow, and the hopelessness?
Thanks be to God who is the lifter of our head! He is our shield! (Psalm 3:3) He is our restorer! He gives us a crown of beauty for ashes and a joyous blessing instead of mourning! (Isaiah 61:3). God's desire is that those who are called His children (those who know Christ Jesus) to experience His joy and this joy is only found in His presence.
Psalm 21:6 (NLT)
You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of Your presence.
Knowing this truth keeps us from relying on people, things, and circumstances for our joy. When all of those things go away, where will you find joy? It can only be found in His presence. Psalm 16:11 says that this is where we find FULLNESS of joy. Don't get me wrong, there can be great sadness in experiencing loss, but knowing that God is our source for everything, including our joy, we can go to Him with our tears and tell Him, "I still rejoice because You are with me Heavenly Father! I take Your joy even through my tears of sadness". And in those moments, when you think you have lost everything and you will never see beauty again, God, with His great love and compassion, will collect your tears in His bottle, He will remind you of the gift of His joy, and He will open your eyes so you can see the beauty that is still there all around you because you are in His presence.
God bless you. Stay encouraged!