Friday, October 23, 2009

28 Days of Joy -- Day 5

For the last few days I have been in awe every time I've driven outside my neighborhood. I don't know exactly how He did it, but God has been intensely coloring the leaves around here until they are in a state beyond what is reasonable for fallen human beings to be seeing.

I screamed - half cry / half yell - on my way home from the store today, turned around in a stranger's driveway, and went back to the tree of FIRE I'd driven past along the side of Red Bridge Road. I know it wasn't my tree, but I had to stand under it, had to pick a few of its leaves.

Actually, I do know how He did it. I just don't know why. I think it might be for me.

Two weeks of unusually cold weather for October is "how". Sudden cold, instead of a slow cooling, means not just the sugar maples are crystallizing into fire-ridden oranges and yellow and reds. But oh-my-goodness, if that's what the other trees are doing, just try to get your mind around the sugar maples! I've never seen anything like it. Whether the light is diffused through miles of drizzly gray clouds, or is brilliantly shooting clean rays through their forms, the leaves are vibrant life.

It's been good, these days of intentional joy, to have the added help of a riotous, rejoicing earth. You know how the "heavens declare the glory of the Lord," ... well sometimes in a crisp fall, the heavens descend and hover near the grass, pulsating this declaration until all the life above ground either drops its leaves and dies, or having become saturated with His glory, begins radiating that glory itself.

The second-coldest October on record. Is that what it takes for the full potential of beauty to burst out, actuated? These trees all have the genes to turn such colors, but very rarely does their environment facilitate it. I have the spiritual genes for great things; should I be so surprised that the environment He provides to activate those genes is stronger than feels comfortable? Instead of mild and slow, prayers for real power and truth seem often answered by circumstances strong and pressing, sudden and inclement, dangerous precipitous and wrenching.

My heart was wrenched today for people close to me, and I felt sick in body over it. I had to be yesterday in a place where I was unsure of my safety, and I became a compulsive door-locker. But isn't God, who is greater than our hearts, also greater than physical circumstances? Indeed, He is. I have a little window into it already - I have already discovered how He keeps me safe, how He answers before I even know I need help: "before they call, I will answer". But I am convinced that my joy will not increase through knowledge of the specifics of His interventions. Those interventions open to me the discovery of His character, His person. And His person, Himself, is what will begin and supply and sustain my joy. And that is why it is a joy that cannot be taken away from me.


Anonymous said...

Hey Amy have you ever heard of the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College?

I think I'm going to go. You might like it too.

I'm glad you are blogging again...beautiful prose as always. The maples around my house are a stunning gold right now. I told Carolyn we are living in Lothlorien but it went over her head.


Anonymous said...

Amy, you're right that God is doing something fruitful in my life. This is about the 3rd time I can quickly recall that He's moved in this fashion. I hope you won't be offended if I offer some impressions of your situation through the lens of my experiences.

These processes are always hard. The thought running through your (my) mind is "I know He was faithful to me last time, but this time it's REALLY important." And that is as it should be. It takes faith in His goodness to choose joy in the midst of reversals, delay and loss. And faith must grow or it will die. The Israelites saw that God would make a way through the depths of the sea for them, but when faced with giants they allowed their faith to wither. In effect they said, "I know He can part the sea, but I don't believe He can give me victory over the giants."

It seems like you are indeed in a fight for life. The abundant life that is your birthright. And the opposition and oppression are not just obstacles to be overcome to attain it. They are the mechanism by which God is bringing it about in your life and your heart. The more opposition you experience, the greater the blessing He's bestowing on you. I'd recommend 1 Peter 1:6-9 to you. Especially verse 8. You will not fail in this fight.

I suspect you've been praying that God would draw you deeper into Himself. This invitation to choose joy is part of the answer.

Speaking of trees, here's a couple of pictures I took this weekend during a trip to the Ozarks. These are from Osceola, MO a little south of KC


Nancy said...

You have a wonderful way with painting word pictures, and coming across your blog today brings delight to my soul. Thank you so much. I miss Red Bridge Road and the whole environment. God Bless you with even more of His Beauty Amy.

Amy Rachel Peterson said...

Thank you, D! I love that 1 Peter passage, and I am so glad you reminded me of it. I feel more familiar with verse 6 :)...but shall have to meditate on 8. Joy inexpressible!! (No wonder I'm sometimes frustrated by the English language. Not everything is supposed to be put into words :)

Beautiful fall pictures by the way. Must have been a stunning trip.