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As Beauty from Ashes, Blooms from Dead Branches

Image: Matt Palmer

The river is swiftly flowing and swollen from the spring rains. The air is cool and damp with the scent of new life and the birds are singing joyfully. As I walk contemplatively along the trail, small, almost invisible, wildflowers are blooming. Trees have a hint of green emerging from branches that otherwise seem to be lifeless. Creation is all around me.

These distinct moments we’re shown of change and growth inspire gratefulness for another cycle of life. These changes may not be as prominent in warmer climates where blooms show off all year round, but here in chilly Ohio, I am constantly reminded that creation is always in a cycle of rest and rebirth.

There is an understanding here that what is present right in this moment will never be experienced again: the water in the river will never be in this exact place, the delicate flowers blooming on new growth will change every day until they fade, and the fresh leaves truly only have a short time until they “rest” in the Fall. The songs of the birds will only be heard in this tune, in this exact moment, and even the fallen trees are decomposing, ever so slowly, contributing to the life of the forest. 

We too are an element of creation, but as humans, have the advantage of being able to also apply these observations. We know that we are created in the image of God the creator and God has been gracious to display himself in the collage of nature so that we can see him every day. 

Sometimes our lives are overwhelmed by turmoil and uncertainty. But just like the spring rains, these times are part of what may be necessary to stir up new life and beauty, and are only in this exact moment in time. When we experience God in turbulent times, the scent of new life will be carried on the breeze of uncertainty while some facets of our lives are decomposing so the elements for sustained growth may be released.  Within the sometimes barren landscape of our lives is beauty—hidden and ready to blossom when the conditions are right. And like the forest and the stream and the blooms, these hard times, too, are certain to change.

Maybe there is a small speck of color pushing through the lifeless branches of past cycles. Look closely at the tree branches as you walk, life is ready to burst forth. What, too, is ready to burst forth in beauty from the ashes of your trials? From the dead branches of your turmoil.

The beauty of nature is overwhelming even in the decaying trees that did not survive the storms. We all know that the storms will come. However, if we just focus on the storms and messes they leave, we often overlook the beauty we receive that is necessary for the enhancement and growth of the world of which we are a part.

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