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Waiting on the Beautiful to Come

June 14, 2024

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:

Ecclesiastes 3:11a

My husband and I started drawing up our house plans before we got married. We put thought into a lot of things. One was our driveway. It’s about 1500 feet from the road and in my mind’s eye, I could see it lined with cherry trees or dogwoods. I could see the branches touching up top and creating a beautiful canopy underneath to drive through.

But we were young and broke, and those trees were way too expensive. Especially when you’re talking about 50-60 trees. So, you guessed it…..we ended up going with the wonderfully fragrant, but much cheaper, Bradford Pear. (If you are so fortunate to not know what these smell like, imagine rotting fish and you’d be pretty close.) They are beautiful when they bloom, I’ll give them that. And so, James worked hard and got them all planted as little saplings.

Fast forward 15 years. I’d become chronically dizzy, not able to take care of my home or my family and my days were spent in the dark, trying to be as still as possible, alone in my house, begging God for help. One night during this time, my sister brought supper over for us.

After she got back to her house, she sent me this message:

As I was leaving and going down your driveway, I looked at the trees and how big and pretty they had become. And thought that it took them many years to get like that. If you and James hadn’t chosen to put them there when you did several years back, then that beauty wouldn’t exist. Y’all have lost a tree or two from storms. They have been through different seasons – the death and cold of winter, the hot summer, and the many changes of fall. It is like your life – God chose to put you where you are. And through all the storms, season, and change, your trial doesn’t look very good right now. But in His time, it will turn out to be beautiful. Just stay faithful like the trees’ roots are firm in the ground. Trust God and wait. “He hath made everything beautiful in his time….”

We, by that I mean James, had tended to those trees so carefully. He planted extra ones around our property in case a storm did knock one over. He’d go dig it up, and put the new one in. Sometimes, the wind would make one crooked and he’d go straighten it and strap it to the ground so it would grow back right. He trimmed the branches and took good care of them.

And it was true, despite their horrible smell they were beautiful. Tiny white blooms would float through the air as you drove underneath them in the spring. The sun would shine through their branches and cause sun beams all up and down the driveway. In the summer, they were so full and green and they touched at the top just like we’d thought they would. In the fall, they changed slowly from green to dark orange to fiery red. They weren’t too pretty in the winter, but when it snowed and they were covered in ice, it looked like tiny diamonds gleamed from their branches.

We had a plan. We had a vision of what we wanted in the future. And despite the elements, because of James’s faithful care, they withstood them all.

Just a couple years ago they began to grow too big. James dreaded what was coming because he knew it would be a lot of work, but he told me, “Faith, I’m going to really have to cut these branches way back or we are going to lose a bunch of trees.” So, he started and worked on them all day. I was in the house cleaning and cooking, but I remember that I came out to check on him at one point. I stepped out from the front porch and it was devastating. It looked like a tornado had come through our driveway and ripped all the trees apart. He had cut the branches down to nubs on all the trees. There was limbs and leaves and debris scattered all over the yard and driveway. It was a disaster. And it took my breath away. There was nothing beautiful about our driveway anymore. In fact, it was a little embarrassing to me for people to pass by and see it.

But James knew it had to be done. And I had to wait on the beautiful to come again.

It took a long time, and they are still to this day not as big as they were. But they are all still there. Still growing, still blooming, still with the potential to be maybe even more beautiful than they were. Only now, they aren’t in danger of being destroyed.

Ever been there? Devasted. Where everything in your life appears to be destroyed. It seems like the storm has touched down and ruined everything. But I wonder, maybe, if it’s just the Lord – knowing that He has to prune us; cut off our beauty so we will survive the coming real storms. He has had a plan and a vision of our future from the beginning and He knows what He’s doing. He’s tended to us oh so carefully. Surely we can trust Him now.

There were a few things I noticed while I was waiting. I could see things differently, things I hadn’t noticed before because the trees had been so large. It felt….lighter. The sun shone in places that had been dark before. Deep down, no matter what it looked like, I knew it would be better.

Even when we can’t see it, we can wait on the beautiful to come back in our lives. No matter what things look like, God makes all things beautiful in His time.

That’s how He works. In ways mysterious to us, but always with our best interest in mind.

And although seasons change, He doesn’t.

My trees in full bloom:

I asked Autumn Hodnett to help me write a song along this thought. We pray it’s a blessing to you!

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