Three dried maple leaves, nestled beside various devotional books, lie on a table in my bedroom, reminding me of a promise. It was a promise given to me, several years ago now, after a long summer of loss.
That summer I faced one of those painful seasons when a loved one fell to temptation at great personal cost. As I watched shame overtake one who once held a youthful passion for God, I grieved as though the loss were my own. Tears flowed at the most awkward moments.
I observed signs of repentance and bumpy steps of progress as summer matured to fall. But my loved one still struggled with recovery.
As I look back now to that painful season, it seems like such a short moment; a small fragment of grey thread, woven tightly within the vivid tapestry of God’s faithful work. At the time, however, we couldn’t see the rest of the story. We couldn’t see beyond the pain, or know what would lie beyond the brokenness.
Today I’m remembering when I received that promise (several years ago) in the wake of that overwhelming sorrow . . .
While in the dark haze of disappointment, I was once again lifting the tragic situation to the Father during my daily walk. He tenderly directed my gaze to the carpet of brilliant gold beneath my feet. I picked up one of the small maple leaves, speckled with tawny flecks.
I carried the gold leaf as tears flowed.
My feet shuffled, pressing my weary heart into the walk with mournful prayers, and a brilliant red caught my eye. I added it to the collection as I continued crying out for God to work in the life of this freshly returned prodigal. My mind was filled with “what ifs” and “whys” fueled by fears for the future and sorrows over wasted opportunities.
I bent to retrieve a third leaf and it brought a complete trinity of color. My sorrow-filled reverie was interrupted by the amazing realization of what lay in my hand.
Three leaves, once young and green, only buds just months ago, but now they bore a glorious transformation. The tender revelation brought me to a standstill.
“If God so clothes the grass of the field . . . He who began a good work will bring it to completion . . . Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory . . .” (Matthew 6:30; Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 3:20-21).
It suddenly occurred to me . . .
If God cares enough to clothe the leaves of fall with such splendor, if He is able to bring such a beautiful transformation to display His glory in them . . .
Can He not do the same for my loved one?
For His glory?
I’m now far beyond the day that God gave me His promise on that walk, and I’ve seen Him take the broken life of my loved one and honor his repentance. I’ve seen God restore lost years and do a beautiful new work. God has shown His faithfulness in bringing the transformation I so desperately hoped for as I picked up each vivid leaf.
I kept those leaves on the coffee table, so that daily I’d see the reminder of the promise. On days when I began to lose heart—I’d pick up one of the “promise leaves” and reflect on God’s power, His ability to transform, His care for His own—and my hope was renewed.
Now that we’re far beyond that painful season, every year, the autumn leaves remind me of that precious promise and God’s restorative power. Perhaps you’re in the midst of God’s weaving of a grey thread through the tapestry of your life. I hope you will look outside the window today and see evidence in the fall leaves of a God who delights in bringing brilliant transformation.
How can I pray for you today?
Would you like to share a testimony of God’s transforming work in a loved one? It would be an encouragement!