Driving along the road to my office a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but notice an absence of colors that had been so pronounced this spring. After enough rainfall to end our drought, wildflowers and grasses had been exceptionally brilliant and beautiful. Yet all now seemed to have dimmed into a palette of dingy grey browns and dying foliage. Unkempt grasses had completely overtaken the sides and medians of this particular roadway.

My thoughts soon turned elsewhere, grass ignored. At least for the moment until another glance caught me by surprise. Although I don’t know why . . . seems I continually find myself seeing God’s handiwork and messages in the most unlikely of places.

Over the next mile or so, I snatched as many sideways peeks as I could and still drive in one lane! Seeing another world revealed beyond the grey browns, I counted at least a dozen different species of wildflowers weaving a tapestry of color beneath the taller grasses. Beauty among the weeds. Treasures amidst what many would consider an eyesore.

Pale hues of soft white and lavender. Tiny flowers scattered underneath the browning grasses. Yellow, orange, pink, blues. All gifts for those who would look beneath the surface. Sweet reminders that even amidst what seems to be dying weeds, a second glance reveals new life beginning to emerge.

Beauty does show up among the decaying pieces of our lives. But I am afraid we miss much of it, unless we see with God’s eyes.

A distance later, between the roadway and convenience store parking lot, there was a stretch of crisply mowed grass. Clean cut, neatly edged . . . but no color. No flowers. No hidden beauty.

Lives shuttered in order to hide moments of grief or sadness often also miss moments of joy, and beauty.

Intrigued, I continued to search and soon noticed the grounds around another business. But this one had unmowed grass at street’s edge. Unkempt? Yes. Eyesore? Depends on your point of view.

That day, I saw not a mess but hidden beauty. For nestled in the greenery of weeds spilling over the curb were sweet, small yellow flowers . . . lying in the gutter.

God’s entrance into the realm of humanity came in the most humble of ways as Jesus’ birth came about without royal trappings, and Jesus’ first hours were spent in an animal feeding trough.

God uses our weakness to display His strength. Chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary Kingdom work. Brings forth messages of hope out of human misery. Births beauty out of decay.

O God, may each of us see beyond the suffering in our lives and find the beauty you seek to create. May we invite you into our deepest pain, and not be surprised at the depth of your presence with us.

And if others ever take a second glance into our lives . . . may they see that our strength and our hope come from you, O God, our rock, our salvation, our stronghold, and our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8)