Thomas guided his car down the highway to the larger neighboring town where he could shop for a faucet that would fit his bathroom sink. “You’d think Anthon’s Hardware would have a few things worth crossing their door for. But if it isn’t what every other person in town needs, they don’t carry it.”
His mood matched the bleak November day, and he didn’t recognize his friend, Howard, stopped by the side of the highway with his bicycle until he’d whizzed past. Flipping on his blinker, he slowed and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.
The cold wind cut through his jacket as he stepped from the car and cupped his hands on either side of his mouth. “Are you heading to Springhill?” He motioned in a wide arc for the man to hurry. “Come on. I’ll give you a ride.”
Howard rolled his bike to the back of the car. “Just picking up trash, trying to make our world a nicer place. Didn’t expect it to get cold so quick.” His smile was as cheerful as ever. “Sure you have room for my bike?”
An answering smile touched Thomas’s face. He never failed to get a lift in Howard’s presence. “It fit the last time I gave you a ride.”
“So it did.” Howard chuckled. “You’re a good man, Thomas.”
After stowing the bike in the oversized trunk, they climbed in the car and headed down the road again, soon passing a small wooded area. “Look at that.” Thomas pointed toward several maple and oak trees that had been charred by a fire. “That must’ve happened during that storm a couple of weeks ago. Looks like lightning struck. What a waste. Sure is a sad sight, isn’t it?”
Howard remained turned toward the window until they passed the scene. “Sometimes things are not as bad as they appear on the surface.” He looked at Thomas with a joyous smile. “Can’t you imagine how glorious it will be next spring when new growth comes in to replace the scars? We can’t see the tiny buds now, but one day fresh, healthy leaves will sprout and bring new life to the forest. I don’t guess it’ll ever be the same, but I imagine it’ll be as good and maybe better. God’s word tells us in Isaiah that He will give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”
Howard settled back in his seat with a smile. “Yes, sir, one day even my old body will be made new.”
Thomas drove in silence, soaking up his friend’s words of truth and wisdom. By the time they reached Springhill, he realized he’d been looking only at the surface ugliness of every hurtful thing thrown his way. Instead, he needed to go deeper to what could be—to the beauty only God could bring to those who look with hopeful eyes.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. I Corinthians 15:58:
And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. Revelation 21:5: