She was with us when we planted the ornamental maple in 1993. The thought occurred to me at the time that the moment would one day be very special in our memories and hearts. It is. My mother went to be with the Lord little more than two years later. I never view the tree without thinking of her, and giving thanks for her. In autumn, however, when the red, orange, and yellow leaves fall so gracefully, carpeting the ground with a singular loveliness, I think and give thanks even more.
The hues of autumn result from death. Less light and cooler temperatures halt the process of photosynthesis in leaves, causing them to die and lose the greenness that hides their truest color. Those reds, oranges, and yellows would never appear to us if the leaves did not die, and a sublime glory would never manifest itself to our eyes and hearts. Strangely, therefore, the death that is actually an aberration in God's creation resulting from sin nevertheless bestows upon us illuminations of beauty impossible to be known without it.
Scripture declares the Lord Jesus to be "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). In His infinite understanding, God has eternally known His Son would be required to suffer and die in time because of humanity's sin. He did not determine our waywardness that began in Adam, but He knew it would take place. Moreover, He also knew that only the Lord Jesus could save us by giving His life for us. Far more mystery than light presents itself to us in this solemn truth. However, brilliant illuminations do shine forth in beauty beyond comprehension and description. Grace shines forth. Mercy glimmers. Love illuminates in open display the very heart of God. Indeed, the suffering and death of our Savior on the cross of Calvary tells us perhaps the most important truth about God we can know. It tells human beings that we hold a place in our Lord's heart that none else can occupy. It tells us how much we matter to Him, and that He is deeply and emotionally involved in who and what we are. It tells us that He loves and cherishes us. And it tells us that even a long forever will not suffice for the redeemed to fully plumb the depths of wonder that exist in our wondrous God.
The falling and beautiful leaves of my mother's tree cause me to think of her, and to give thanks for her. They also remind me a fallen and beautiful Savior whose death reveals Divine glories that never could have been known in any other way. I think of Him, and give thanks for Him. And, I look forward to seeing them both some day in another Place where "there shall be no more death" (Revelation 21:4). Therein, another Tree awaits, with beauties yet unseen and unknown, but forever to be enjoyed in the rapturous love of God...
"And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
Weekly Memory Verse
Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor."