I stopped at an intersection on my way into work yesterday. The gray light of the early morning and the cloudy sky made everything feel dull and hushed. I sat waiting for the light to turn green, and then a single, five-point maple leave cart-wheeled into the middle of the street and stood upright. The wind held it in place, turning it ever so slightly.
Everything slowed to a halt. For a few moments, it was as if God had paused the world. That one leaf—a brown, dried out, papery remnant of summer—was brought there by God himself. Who would have thought that amidst all of the “big” events today, and in the context of millions events over the past week, and month, and year, and century, and millennium, God would have the will to bring this little leaf to this intersection at this very moment? I starred at that leaf for a little eternity, letting myself get caught up in the rapturous world of God. Then a car drove through the intersection and blew the leaf into the air, where it pirouetted three times before settling flat on the pavement. The light turned green. And the world un-paused. The moment ended as quickly and quietly as it began.
Do you think about the details around you? I probably think about them too much. But I can’t help myself. Something about the world we live in is mesmerizing. Life is sacred to me, especially in the details, because details are God’s handiwork. Details are the parts of God’s canvas that have the finest strokes of paint. We don’t see them, but the artist spent so much time on them! Details are also God’s way of telling us to slow down, breathe, and reflect. Most of us don’t have much time to do that, do we? We get caught up in the current of the ordinary. The morning begins with coffee sipping and bagel biting and then, before we’re even aware of what happened, ends with tooth-brushing and book reading. As I settle into bed each night, I sometimes think, “Where did that whole day go? Do I have any memories to take with me into tomorrow? God, why does ordinary life move so fast?”
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the ordinary, I want to slow down. I want God to pause the world for me. I want to see the details.
Today, no matter where you are, I want to encourage you to pause, to see a little detail in the world around you, and to think of God—the great, all-powerful, ever-present God who still cares about maple leaves and bagel crumbs, and human hair (Matt. 10:30). The God of the extraordinary also treasures the ordinary. The details around us are precious to him, whether we notice them or not. Will you notice one today?
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