Outward Signs, Deeper Truths

“I don’t think we’re going we’re going to get much of a fall this year.”

I remembered those words, overheard at a checkout counter, as I walked along the streets of my town. Part of me had agreed. Although it was October, summer like temperatures mixed with sunshine and rain, meant green leaves and growing plants were still going strong. It made me a little sad. I like fall.

Well, finally, here we are in November, and fall has firmly fallen. The trees are practically vibrating with color. Yellows, reds and oranges sway in the breezes at the tops of the trees, while colored leaves gracefully waft from branch to sidewalk. Oh, how I love to watch them fall. It looks like a sacred, solitary dance done just for me.

Much has been written about fall – praising the weather, the nip in the air, the color of the sky and leaves – the change of seasons. I think I love fall so much, in part, because it dares you not to notice. I admire that kind of audacity. It’s so “in-your-face”. How can I miss the changes?

The experience of sitting in a chair in the middle of a forest, or walking down a country road this time of year envelops our senses. Praises for his endless creativity in nature and his limitless color palette effortlessly bubble up from our hearts.

It seems that God himself knows how vital outward signs are to his people. Certainly a mere change of one season to another could happen without all the fanfare of smells and color we see and experience this time of year. But Our Father wants us to notice.

He wants us to see the beautiful outward signs of the season, hoping it will lead us to meditate on the truth that all things are passing, everything transforms and evolves. But there’s something else the Lord wants us to grasp too. He wants us to allow these outward signs to turn us inward, and to recognize the eternal truth that lies beneath all creation.

God is present in everything he created.

We live in a world of signs and symbols that are beautiful on their own, but find their true meaning in what lies beneath. Things like tracing the sign of the cross, the rite of Baptism, or reciting wedding vows…they all us with wonder, seeing the beauty and grace of the rites and prayers.

But that’s only the surface.

Under the cover of our words and movement lives the sacred, unseen reality of God’s presence. The words and ritual motions can change and evolve, but this hidden truth does not. God is with us.

Yes, we have eyes to see. With them, we see the beauty, wonder and gift that creation in all the world holds.

But we also have eyes of faith, and with them, we can perceive so much more. With them, we sense the eternal presence of God, living and effective, just beneath what we see.

 

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54 thoughts on “Outward Signs, Deeper Truths

  1. I think that is why it is so hard to convince someone who is a strong unbeliever about the existence of God. So much of our walk with Christ is by faith, not by sight, and to really experience Him, in His fullness, one must became a partaker of His nature by having Him dwell within them. It is like the analogy about the barrel with the hold in its side. If you are on the outside looking in, all you see is so limited and bleak. Once you get on the inside and look out, you see a whole lot through that little hole. I love the fall, too, and I LOVE walking with Jesus every step of this Christian way. It is a beautiful thing, even though the trials are severe, He is ever present. Blessings to you today, Ceil! By the way, Jason came by and left a nice response to your comment…just thought you may like to see it! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Cheryl! I think you’re right. It is very hard to explain to anyone why we have faith, and how we see confirmation of that in all things. “Seeing is believing” is what they say. That’s true, but many times you need those eyes of faith.

      Thanks for the heads-up on Jason’s reply. I’ll come on over and read it!
      Ceil

  2. There are so many signs that God has given us proving His existence, His power and His Omnipotence. But sadly, many people these days go through life ignoring these signs and seeing what they want to see; and believing what they want to believe.

    Coincidentally, Ceil, I have this afternoon been recording another of my talks which I publish from time to time under the heading “Time for Reflections”. It was about the existence of God and how people chose to perceive Him; or not. I’ll publish it soon.

    Thank you for a wonderful thought-provoking post. God bless you and your family.

    • Hi Victor! I love the fact that we were thinking along the same lines my friend. God works to unite us in so many ways, he is with us when we write too!
      I’m sure I do a fair amount of seeing what I want to see. Developing that inner sight takes time and motivation. I pray for the grace to increase both of these spiritual gifts.
      Looking forward to that post of yours!
      Ceil

  3. I’d love to be able to sit on that bench with you for awhile, friend … reflecting on the season’s glories, the changes in our lives, the expectation of what God’s going to do, and recounting His amazing faithfulness.

    ‘Til then, online conversations will have to suffice.

    A lovely Sabbath afternoon to you, dear Ceil …

    • Hi Linda! That would be wonderful! The trees around here are just spectacular. I think it won’t be lasting much longer, but while it’s here? I love it!
      Blessed Sunday to you too my friend,
      Ceil

    • Hi Linda! How nice to see you here again! I am going to guess that school is taking up a lot of your time?

      Our trees are soon to fade too. I was out walking in a village park, and many of the trees are half barren. But, I’ll enjoy it while I’ve got it, and remember that Christ is in it all.
      Sunday Blessings,
      Ceil

    • Hi Jean! Thank you for commenting today πŸ™‚

      It’s so pretty around town, isn’t it? I agree, looking at the fall colors is so relaxing. I was out on the Prairie Path yesterday and it was just beautiful. God is in it all!

      Have a wonderful afternoon,
      Ceil

    • Hi Freda! My sister lives in California too, and just loves it.
      The changes of season are so different from zone to zone in the United States. But, God is in it all. I guess I’m fortunate that it’s so ‘in your face’ here, that way I see better!

      Blessings,
      Ceil

  4. Lovely, my friend, as another fall lover! This year has provided a luscious late taste of His goodness and His infinite creativity and that we are truly without excuse as Paul says in Romans, if we miss that it is Him!

  5. Ceil, your photos are so beautiful and heartwarming. I never understood how people can deny the existence of God, but sadly, many do. One of my favourite hymns is “To God be the Glory”, and another is “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”. Thank you so much for your thought-provoking posts and lovely photos. I hope you had a great weekend. God bless you.

    • Hi Linda! I did have a great weekend, thank you! I’m so glad you liked the photos here. Fall is my favorite time of year, and your song titles are a perfect companion for them. God is so good to us in his creation, and how blessed we are that we can see him in it!

      Blessings,
      Ceil

  6. Your Fall color sounds like it is following the same time track as ours. The color has been slow, but this past week it exploded. I think it will end just as quickly.
    I really appreciate your comparison to seeing the outward signs and then looking deeper. I’ll be reminded of that as I look at the beautiful color around me.

    • Hi Mari! I took another walk today, and the leaves are still hanging in there, but it won’t be long… I just love this time of year, and I’m glad that both of us have the opportunity to enjoy the change of season!

      Have a peaceful night,
      Ceil

  7. The outward and visible signs God gives us are meant to turn us inward, I believe, so that we can know He is with us in all things and at all times. This is a stunning reflection, Ceil; your words and images got my Monday off to a prayerful start. Thank you, my friend!

    • Hi Martha! Thank you for your generous words about the post. It means a lot coming from you, a published author!
      It’s a great thing to remember that God is all in all, especially with the voting coming up tomorrow. God is in control and present. That’s wonderful news.

      Have a great Monday, you made me smile πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  8. Oh My, what beautiful pictures and a breath-taking post, My Friend. No Fall here deep in the heart of Texas, but it is coming as sure as God’s promises–It is coming!
    Blessings, My Friend!

    • HI Lulu! Thank you, I just took them with my phone, but I loved the colors so much. Your fall probably looks a lot different than mine, but yes! It’s coming, just as you said.

      Thanks for visiting today!
      Ceil

  9. Yes, it is walking by faith that allows us to be calm even when what we seeing is a a darkened world of struggle and strive and brokenness. And hope of what is yet to come, even though it may not transpire in this time we have here. You’ve reminded me to look at the beauty today, among the ashes so to speak! Have a week where faith and hope and love abound, Ceil!

    • Hi Lynn! I know that you enjoy walking in nature too, so I’m sure you feel peace and joy in doing that. With our elections coming up tomorrow, it might be a good place to be!
      There is beauty everywhere, and God everywhere too. We are blessed to have that wisdom, and to allow it to give us comfort in hard times.
      Wishing you a peaceful Monday,
      Ceil

  10. I love this message and your photos, Ceil. That bench looks so inviting. πŸ™‚ This especially touches my heart:
    “Yes, we have eyes to see. With them, we see the beauty, wonder and gift that creation in all the world holds.
    But we also have eyes of faith, and with them, we can perceive so much more. With them, we sense the eternal presence of God, living and effective, just beneath what we see.”
    Amen. So beautifully said. I am so comforted to be reminded that God’s presence is eternally living and effective. Thank you. πŸ™‚ Blessings and hugs to you!

  11. Hi Ceil, Thank you for capturing the beauty in fall–the changing of the leaves before they fall to the ground. Here in Iowa, we haven’t really seemed to have a true fall–the weather is unseasonably warm–sadly the colors aren’t as vibrant as usual. No matter what the weather, I can see and experience the creativity of God in His creation. I’m do thankful to live where I can experience all four seasons (even if that happens is a super short period of time!).

    Have a blessed week!

    Kim

    • Hi Kim! I really like the four seasons too. My husband is definitely not a cold-weather fan, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it does him. A little snow at Christmas is good!

      It’s good to see God in all his glory in any circumstance. I guess I like fall so much because he makes it so easy for me. How can I not see his creation? I hope your trees and weather continue to remind you of him. (I know they will!)
      Blessings on your week too πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  12. Ceil: Each season has its special job. I like the colors of fall. They can be bright and then again they can be rather drab; it all depends on the temps at night. We sometimes like to go out to the area state park near our home and see what we can see.

    Also, when we work with people, we sometimes have to take them at face value. Then, we also have times where we have to concentrate on what is going on within their lives and their bodies.

    • Hi Cecelia! You’re right about all the seasons. They all can lift the spirits and point to the Creator.
      I like your application to being with other people. We can all look different, but there’s so much inside of us. I know you would be sensitive to that through your visits to people in hospitals. Great point!

      Blessings,
      Ceil

    • Opps, I meant to add this…it matters not the season, beautiful colors or brown dried leaves, God has one purpose for us and that is to glorify Him .. Recently our church did a Harvest party. One of the games was a kids swimming pool filled with dried leaves but underneath was lots of good candy. Sure cannot judge a bunch of dried leaves for what they look like, one must go underneath them. There I got in all I wanted to say. Great post

      • Hi Betty! What a fun activity! And it really teaches about what’s below the surface… And you’re right about the seasons, they all point to God and his creativity.

        I’m glad you could travel to see the beautiful colors of the trees. I do count myself as fortunate to see the striking changes. It’s my favorite time of year!
        Have a peaceful night,
        Ceil

  13. ” I think I love fall so much, in part, because it dares you not to notice. I admire that kind of audacity. It’s so β€œin-your-face”. How can I miss the changes?” This really made me smile. I usually don’t like fall and yes this year it appeared late but abruptly. But you gave me new insights into this season. Thanks for helping me embrace autumn with joy this year.

    • Hi Jean! You aren’t alone in not really liking fall much. I remember that John Denver wasn’t a fan either.
      It always seemed to me to be so sad that this season was the shortest of all, but maybe that adds to its allure too. God sings and waves to me in all his works, but somehow fall makes me see him better.

      Have a wonderful Wednesday!
      Ceil

  14. Oh, to look at every day in my ordinary life and see God’s masterpiece in the changing seasons and praise Him for the wonder of it all! I like your photos and am happy that fall did not pass you by even though the season was delayed!

    • Hi Mary! I’m so glad too, it’s my favorite! It seems that the louder the voice, the easier it is for me to hear, and so I hear God loud and clear in nature these days.

      Hope your week is going well!
      Ceil

  15. Beautiful writing, Ceil, sharing beautiful truths God gives for all of us to enjoy in wonder. Loved this: “Oh, how I love to watch them fall. It looks like a sacred, solitary dance done just for me.” I feel the exact same way. Thank you for the lovely word picture!

    • Hi Pam! Thank you for your kind word about the post. Isn’t fall just gorgeous? Today, the sky is so blue, and the leaves left on the trees are just sparkling. How could anyone question whether God is in our world?

      I hope you have a joy-filled fall day today πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  16. I love the colours of autumn too, Ceil. I never really considered that God could be making the changes of season so beautiful and dramatic to get our attention and cause us to think about who is behind it all but that makes a lot of sense. I certainly find that creation reminds me of God’s presence and I feel closer to him when I am enjoying its beauty. Great photos!

    • Hi Lesley! Thank you and I’m glad you like the photos. Aren’t the colors beautiful?
      I think God wants to be splashy in my life, because if he’s a little too subtle, I’ll miss him. I’m so thankful that he knows that about me. I hope your day today was filled with splashy colors!

      Blessings,
      Ceil

  17. Goodness! I just saw this post. Your thoughts brought me to the words that a priest spoke regarding the Catholic faith one time. He said, “Our faith is so sensual.” I was stunned to hear a priest use that word, but he went on, “It is sensual in the essence that we come to know it through all of our senses.” How true! The signs, symbols, smells, teachings, visuals. To really use all of our senses to grow in our faith, what a gift!

  18. Fall has finally fallen here too. So far November has been more like a traditional October. Thankful for the cooler temperatures and bright foliage. Appreciate this analogy, Ceil. Have a good weekend! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Karen! I am having a wonderful weekend! I’m in New Orleans with my three sisters and we’re having a great time. It’s still green down here, but they don’t have the same type of fall as the north.

      Hope you’re having a great weekend too,
      Ceil

  19. Lovely thoughts and photos, Ceil. I too love the changes of the seasons we experience here in the midwest. We did not have them as visible when we lived in California. You’re right–God can use all of this to help us pause and think about him, and the changes he wants to make in our hearts–if we let him!

    • Hi Jeanette! It’s quite green here in New Orleans this weekend, so I get an idea of what you mean. It’s wonderful to have the change of seasons in such a dramatic way though, at least for me.

      Hope you’re having a great weekend ,
      Ceil

  20. Beautiful thoughts you have shared Ceil, as always, your thoughts are deep and powerful, and cause for reflection. I love how you shared about the changing colors of the leaves, and how thinking about the experience of the outward, leading to reflection on how the beauty we have witnessed around us, and we also need to use the eyes of our soul to see the reflection of the Lord around us. Beautiful powerful thought. May we see with His eyes, the powerful reality that lies in the unseen. Hugs to you today my friend, always an inspiration to stop by here for a visit!

    • Hi MM! I love your prayer asking that we see with the eyes of God. That is so powerful to me, and certainly if we did that, we’d truly appreciate the miracle that nature is. Which includes us!

      Thank you for your encouraging comment too. I’m so glad you are here, and that we are connected through our blogs. May God bless us both today!
      Ceil

  21. I love your images and words. God meets me when I am out walking and soaking up His beauty. It’s almost as if He knows those are times for us to have a quiet date together.

    Fall in your corner of the country looks much more vibrant than here but there is always beauty to be found if we open our eyes to all God has for us. Good to read your words again. Praying you and your family are doing well.

    • Hi Mary! Thank you for visiting today, it’s nice to see you!

      It really is a gift to have the time to walk and consider the creativity and joy in nature, don’t you think? It’s all right there for me to appreciate…I need to get out there more!
      Thank you for your prayers. I just got back from a ‘girls weekend’ with my three sisters, and one of them wasn’t feeling that great. Hoping God hears your prayers for a full recovery for her.
      Blessings!
      Ceil

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