Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Secrets of Birch Bark and Pine Cones

by Emily Conrad


It started with curls of birch bark, littered on the sidewalk like scrolls of ancient paper. The clean lines on the white bark, like the marks of an exact graphite pencil I could read if only I knew the code. The blushing pink, the feel of it in my hand, as if I'd captured a a paper bird mid-flight.

Then came the pine cones. Maybe it was the way the light hit the winding pattern. Perhaps the rich brown revealed when they open, or the green-white scales growing on the tops.

Winter is officially over, the snow has receded, and what lay underneath for so long has been revealed. The world we live in is an unparalleled work of art that sings of its Creator.

As I've been walking around my neighborhood, noticing scraps of birch and ice and pine and moss with spring-hungry eyes, I've begun to listen more closely to that song.

Spring, my favorite season, leads me to consider how much greater of an artist God is than any human.


If I tell you there's a vase of daffodils next to my laptop, with a few words, I have glossed over galaxies of details God has imbued. I've failed to mention the way the light shines through one extended petal, the scent which has grown stronger the more the flowers age, the popping yellow color, the sheen of the texture, the tiny gray lines, either veins or fold marks. And still, there's more.

Words fail.

Pictures, do, too. When an artist paints, they don't paint each of these details. Often, a smudge conveys a flower petal, a splotch a tree. And even the most beautiful photograph can't capture scent or warmth. We can't walk through it and see each little detail present in the original landscape.

When artists of any kind try to replicate the real world in our work, we can't help but simplify His complex artistry.

  

The fact that God's work is so complex, however, tells us He is different. All things are in His focus. Each moment, each detail. Rocks, moss, pine cones, birch bark, dripping sap, all speckled with intricate detail crafted by a God big enough to create and sustain.

The God who went to such lengths in creation tends to the needs of sparrows and grass. And He who clothes these flitting, fleeting things in gowns of detail and provision, tends to our needs, as well.

The next time you notice tulips pushing up through the mulch or the earthy scent of damp ground or the way sunshine lends warmth even when the air is cold, let these serve as a reminder that you are not alone. You have not been left to fend for yourself. You have not fallen beneath the notice of the good and loving God who is reaching out to reconcile you with Himself.

No detail is left unattended. No scrap of dirt, no moment of your life is haphazard or carelessly placed. When we follow Jesus, we follow a God who cares about the details. Nothing is outside His focus. All things are held together in Him.

He will never leave you or forsake you. Jesus will never fill in a spot of your life with a smudge instead of intricate, loving detail.











Jesus will never fill in your life with a smudge instead of intricate, loving detail via @emilyrconrad

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