I’m just in from a lovely walk here in our amazing Shenandoah Valley. For me, walking outside among the changing trees, crunching through fallen leaves, and breathing in the crisp, clear air, all feed my soul. The colors are late this year, but more than made up for it in their brilliance. As I walked I thought again about how different it all looks in summer. Back then, the trees seem to blend into each other, the hills a vast expanse of uninterrupted green. Now that their leaves are being cut off from the chlorophyll, their emerging colors turn the trees into individuals.
This made me think about my life. As a Christian, it’s pretty easy to blend in when things are going along status quo. When life is smooth, I don’t really seem different from anyone else. However, when my life becomes ‘discombobulated’ (my new favorite word!) and out of my control, my ‘true’ colors start to show. For me, it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a bad thing or a really good one, it’s the whole notion of things changing I’m not keen on!
When I am being cut off from the things I cling to, what color do I show the world? Am I brilliant gold or dingy brown? Does the light of Jesus shine through me despite my circumstances? Because this is when the lost are looking at me. I believe that our broken world takes special note of we who claim Christ when we go through unsettling stuff. Do I show trust and faith when everything around me is a whirlwind?
When disconcerting stuff happens, I want to remember that even as I am being cut off from my perceived security, my true Hope remains elsewhere. Despite losing its leaves, the tree itself will survive the ice and snow, if it has deep, strong roots. I need to continue to grow in Jesus, reaching down into the sustaining soil of my Savior. Then, despite any winter in my life, I will produce fruit in season (Psalm 1). I invite you to join me in clinging to that hope, and shining it out to the world!