There were more ways I wanted to tag this picture, but I know I needed more words.
I haven’t mentioned this until now, but the leaf was in a gutter when I found it. Or really it is the closest thing to a gutter in our neighborhood. It was in the street but in the path where water drains from the road. The wheels of my trashcan lined up perfectly with the leaf. And after my hashtag that God is near, I thought , well that means that God is in the gutter. And while that might be offensive to some who view God as an old man in a perfect white suit that never stains or dirties, I was given much comfort by this thought. I have to admit that my life is pretty good, but sometimes I feel discouraged with different pieces of my life. And on a dreary Autumn day when I thought about God waiting for ALL of us in the gutter I felt a comforting embrace come over me. God is a god above all gods. He is the only God and no one and nothing is greater than He. So while we look at the gutter and see it as a sign of defeat and despair, God sees it as an opportunity. God doesn’t see the gutter as defeat, because He knows that He cannot be defeated. The gutter doesn’t scare him and so he comes to the gutter to drive out despair and defeat and bring us up out of it into His marvelous light.
You can’t picture God in the gutter without realizing that only God redeems. God takes a fallen leaf and beautifies a gutter. God takes an addict and fills their veins with pure blood and their heart with love. God takes the convict and gives them a new name. God takes the ill-perceived perfectionist and shows them his perfect call for their life. God takes the angry and gives them peace. God takes the brokenhearted and wraps his arms around them holding them up in their direst times. Over and over in scripture we see a God who gives something beautiful to people and after it has become ugly and the people have went their own way, he gives them another beautiful thing that brings them back to him. God doesn’t do this because He loves being neglected and punished by His own creation, but because God’s heart is bent on redemption. Sometimes God wipes the slate clean and starts over. Sometimes God sends light in the midst of darkness and allows the light to re-create. Sometimes God sends a heart-shaped leaf to give beauty to a wet, nasty gutter in the road. He makes all things new.
I love finally living in a place that actually has the Autumn season. The trees here in Arkansas are breath-taking as their green leaves change to an array of beautiful earth-tone colors. There is something about a green-leafed tree that is gorgeous and perfect. A tree that grows tall, spreads its branches, and whose leaves are a perfect green. It is the sign that the tree has received everything necessary to grow correctly. The amount of light and water have been perfect. It is majestic to see. Of course we can also see the beauty in a tree that as the season of great sunlight and rain morph into a season of cool air, dryness, and wind begins to change its color. The leaves turn into bright reminders that the Earth is still turning and time continues to tick away and everything has its time. The leaves begin to drop as winter desires to approach, creating a blanket of brilliant color on a bed of browning grass. Perfection comes down to give light and life to the land that has lost its beauty. And so does God! A fallen leaf that gives beauty to barren blades of grass is like God who comes down in the form of Jesus to give beauty and life to a barren people. God sent his Love, Jesus, down to the world. And the beauty of Jesus was just enough to save it. And as the leaves trickle down, I’m reminded that not only do trees send down their leaves to give beauty to the land only to die and regenerate, but God has done that as well through His son. God sends love down. Not once, but All the time!