The Heart of God
I just had another opportunity to visit my brother who lives north of Los Angeles. He has recently moved to a very nice, four-bedroom home, and our stay was relaxed and comfortable. We didn’t do a lot in the area other than spend time with Karl. Since my visits are infrequent, it is nice just to take time to be with him.
One of the neat things about Karl’s new home is the big, beautiful orange tree in his backyard. Oh my… those oranges are fantastic! My son and his family visited the week before, and Karl made sure that they left plenty of those sun-kissed treats on the reachable parts of the tree for me. Ever since he’s lived in California, Karl has attempted to grow different varieties of fruits and vegetables. He has come a long way from when he produced his first ear of corn that was about 2” long with maybe 3 kernels on the cob. So, he had some tomatoes that he was allowing to ripen inside as the weather had taken a bit of a turn, and he didn’t want to possibly lose them to frost.
He showed me a tomato or two and said that the variety was known for its heart shape. As I looked at it, I thought that maybe I was missing something. Karl insisted that it did look like a heart, but we both eventually came to the agreement that it actually looked like the real human variety vs. the Valentine heart shape, which we have come to associate with that special day in February. There was also an orange with that same type of shape, but again arguably, it didn’t quite have the look of a Valentine heart, as it was missing the two top curves and the very pointed bottom to which we are accustomed.
Karl and I took a walk with his dog, and I decided to look for something natural that was heart-shaped on our path. We walked along a trail into hilly terrain, and there were quite a few trees and bushes along the way. It was there that I spotted an amazing red leaf. My brother argued that it had a bulge on the side, but there is no mistaking that it is an actual Valentine heart shape, unlike the orange and tomato. From my research, I have decided that this is likely a Disanthus cercidifolius from the hamamelis family of flora (try saying that ten times fast, if you can pronounce it at all – Lol!) I also found a heart-shaped rock that I cannot verify was there solely through natural means or if someone took a chisel to it to leave for path-takers to wonder.
In seeing hearts in nature, whether in the shape of what is pounding inside each human chest or the kind we associate with Valentine’s Day, it occurred to me that everything God has given us to enjoy is marked by His heart and love. Mountains, trees, seas, and animals great and small bear the heart He has for us as His most special and spectacular creation. Psalm 136 records verses of thanks and praise for the God who’s “love endures forever.” It mentions many things that bear God’s heart for this world through what He has made:
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. to Him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. who made the great lights- His love endures forever. the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever… He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136: 1-9, 25-26 (NIV)).
God’s enduring love is evidenced in all that He has given. Of course, not everything is in the shape of a heart, but with spiritual eyes we can see God’s heart manifested in every single part of His creation. Let your spiritual eyes gaze on the wonder of all His works to see the very heart of God!
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