I have a love affair with trees. I so often wish I would stop while traveling to take a photo of the vivid trees that especially catch my eye. My father could look at a leaf and tell you from what tree it came. He was amazing. My grandson did a project on trees and leaves for school, and I wish I had lived close enough to explore with him.
The ironic part of my love affair is that I am highly allergic to trees! Yes, I have gone through the allergy testing and lit up like a light bulb. I can’t hug them and I can’t jump in a pile of leaves. I’ve ended up in the hospital from my throat closing because I innocently swiped a low-hanging branch of leaves while out strolling. Walking in the jungles of Borneo, tromping in the woods, or raking leaves are all activities that I am very cautious and hesitant about engaging in.
GOD LOVES TO SURPRISE US
Still, I do love trees. I think they just show me over and over again, every season, how God loves to surprise us. The seasons help remind us of dying to our sins and the new life God offers us. But for me, in addition to that, it’s the surprise!
Recently, I passed two trees that were breathtakingly beautiful! They were deep, vivid shades of red and were proudly standing side by side. My thought was, I have probably passed those same trees a hundred times and not really noticed them in other seasons. We must make sure we don’t take God’s awesomeness for granted.
In Michigan, there are a plethora of trees, almost smothering – at least compared to places in Arizona. There we had so many palm trees that didn’t change colors in season that we really had to work at seeing the changes and surprises as the seasons changed. But the fruit trees were a different story! Glorious and fragrant – the smell in the city at blossom time was unbelievable. Now, that was an awesome surprise!
LEARNING TO SEE GOD’S SURPRISES
God can surprise us every single day! We just have to be open to looking for what He has in store for us. I seem to miss so much. I have to work really hard at being observant to what is all around me and not just look straight ahead. The road ahead often compels my attention over and against the ever-changing sky or landscape. But, when I am observant, it is glorious! God is so awesome. Ah, the blessings – seen and unobserved!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to teach our children the tool of seeing God’s daily surprises for us? Why not make it a ritual in your home, whether you live alone or with children? What are some ways to create a ritual for reminding ourselves and helping each other see God’s surprises? Could it be something that you do right before bed, such as list one surprise God has given you today? Could it be something you ask at the dinner table? Or maybe you want to create a day of the week in which you talk about God’s surprises. Why not create a weekly Surprise Sundae Sunday where you make ice cream sundaes and talk about how God surprised you in various ways over the past week? And if you don’t have any children in your home, have fun doing it anyway – who doesn’t LOVE ice cream and surprises?
At Concordia University Ann Arbor, in the Family Life Education Program, and in the Concordia Center for the Family, we see a great value in helping families not only see our surprising God, but to help them not become complacent and miss the wonderful things He has to offer to our families.