Well I made a huge Sunday afternoon mistake last week. I went to the apple orchard. Oh my goodness was it ever crowded! On the radio when I was driving home, they were having a debate about whether or not it is too early in the season to go to an apple orchard, since technically it isn’t fall yet. And I thought, “My goodness, I live in America, I can go to the apple orchard whenever I want to!” I went a few times this past summer, I have been there in the winter AND the spring as well. The bad thing about it on Sunday was there are apparently not too many people who feel it is too early for the apple orchard. That place was PACKED.
The beauty of going in the summer was I could roam the grounds pretty much in peace, and finish off my walk with a visit inside the little shop to pick up some fresh vegetables and fruits. I got spoiled. On Sunday pretty much all the produce was sold out and every inch of the trails throughout the orchards was filled with people. I did find myself marveling at the people who were there. Everyone appeared to be having a good time. And so they should, because it was a gorgeously warm, sunny day and they were out enjoying nature, whether they recognized it as that or not.
Occasionally, we need times like that to separate ourselves from reality I think. Maybe that’s why God created nature. Now I don’t buy the malarkey some people put out there when they claim they don’t need church because they are spending time with God when they are in the woods, hunting or hiking or doing whatever they do. I think they prefer being in the woods over being at church and that statement is just a cop-out to excuse themselves from attending church.. But maybe someday I will meet up with an individual whose depth of spirituality is so evident, it proves me wrong. If you really are heading out to the woods every Sunday or every day and meeting up alone with God - amazing things should be happening in your life, because God is not just another commitment. He is powerful and being in His company changes you in ways you cannot hide.
I do think there is value in breaking the routines we face as we spend so much time on our man-made highways and inside buildings. We all need to go outside and enjoy nature sometimes. I was looking at the apple trees at the orchard. They are absolutely brimming with fruit. Isn't it amazing nobody built those apple trees? They were not engineered in a factory and assembled for delivery. They were created by God Who knows how to make a seed sprout and grow into an apple tree which will produce more seeds and fruit for years to come. And if God can do that - He can do anything!
And how about the changing leaves? We often try to copy the beauty of the colors of fall, but usually cannot do them justice. The steadfast dependability of the changes in the trees serves to remind me of the steadfast dependability of my God in heaven. I know the colors are here, and the leaves will fall - and the trees will appear to die. But I also know they will come back again as they always do in the spring, with promise and new life and hope. I can depend on God to keep that going, whether or not people want it to happen. Nature doesn't stress out or worry or stop moving because of the circumstances of the world. I used to remind my kids, when they were faced with some devastating disappointment, that tomorrow the sun will rise, the birds will sing and the world will keep on spinning.
We cause enough chaos in our lives in this world - what if God just randomly messed with nature? We wouldn't feel stable in any arena. I think we just might lose our sanity, pretty sure I would, because there is peace and certainty in nature which helps me cope in a changing world. I like knowing some things are not going to change. When I grumble about being cold in winter, it is the selfish part of me speaking which never wants to feel uncomfortable. I don’t like to feel cold and I get scared for myself and my children and friends when the roads are icy and snow-covered. But I like to bundle up and walk snowy trails through snow-laden trees. I love when I come to a road where the trees form a snowy canopy and the sun is shining through them glistening and sparkling like diamonds. Breathtaking.
I need nature. I love to be outdoors experiencing it. I think it serves a Godly purpose, so let’s make a commitment to get out there and find peace with God and enjoy the beauty He has created! Don’t post a new fall picture you find in a search of Google images - go take one yourself and bask in the glory of the One Who created it all!
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