I live in one of the coldest places in the USA, and I can't say I enjoy the prospect of winter approaching. Yesterday my family and I raked up the last of the leaves from our yard (12 trees!) and I commented how sad it was to see our beautiful maples looking so stark. This morning I read the following little devotion and prayer. It is from Richard Foster's book, Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home.
As winter approaches each year, I like to watch our large maple in the backyard begin to lose its covering of summer green and take on a funeral brown. As the leaves drop, one by one all the irregularities of the tree are exposed. The imperfections were always there,k of course, but they have been hidden from my view by an emerald blanket. Now however, the tree is denuded and desolate and I can see his real condition.
Winter preserves and strengthens a tree. Rather than expending its strength on the exterior surface, its sap is forced deeper and deeper into its interior depth. In winter, a tougher and more resiliant life is firmly established. Winter is necessary for the tree to survive and flourish.
Instantly you see the application. Too often we hde our true condition with surgace virtues of pious activity, but once the leaves of our frantic pace drop away, the transforming power of a wintery spirituality can have effect.
To the outward eye, everything looks barren and unsightly. Our many deficits , flaws and imperfections stand out in bold relief. But only the outward virtues are collapsing....the soul is returning to the interior. Real, solid, enduring virtues begin to develop. Pure love can be birthed.
Dear Lord Jesus,
In my better moments, I want nothing more than to be like you. But there are other moments....Help me to see how good conformity to your way really is. In my seeking for you, may I be found by you. I love you, Lord. Amen