Our favorite place to enjoy the autumn colors is Letchworth State Park. It is located in western New York state approximately an hour from our home. I want to share a few lessons I learned from the Lord while recently visiting this scenic wonderland.
Letchworth State Park covers 14,500 acres. It is the largest canyon east of the Mississippi River and is known as the Grand Canyon of the East. It is massive! As I survey the height and depth of this canyon and gaze at the tremendous trees, I am reminded of Ephesians 3:17-18. “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”
We are embedded in beauty. The accumulation of crunchy brown leaves on the ground creates a mattress. As our eyes survey the fall foliage forest on the banks of the canyon, a multicolored patchwork quilt is displayed.
Let me describe this brilliant quilt of colorful leaves. There is an abundance of yellow and gold. Gold is both a color and a commodity. I Peter 1:7 NKJV says, “the genuineness of your faith, is much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Orange swatches are outstanding. The orange leaves remind me of flames of fire. Tongues of fire describe the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:3. “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” Patches of green are intermingled. Evergreen trees and everlasting life. I John 2:25 says, “And this is what He promised us–eternal life. The reds are not as abundant but still evident. The red leaves are precious similar to the preciousness of Jesus’ blood. I John 1:7 NLT tells us, “the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” Beautiful colors are exhibited and powerful scriptures are interwoven in nature’s quilt.
Although we are captivated by the beauty of the trees, we also watch the Genesee River wind its way along the bottom of this gorgeous gorge. I am reminded of John’s words in Revelation 22:1-2. “Then He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” The source of the spiritual River of Life is God’s throne. Nature’s Genesee River is a tributary of Lake Ontario and it flows through the park.
Letchworth State Park features three large waterfalls – the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. There was in abundance of water flowing from these falls this year. John 7:37-39 says, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
We were enveloped in a mist of water vapor while standing near the Middle Falls. Suddenly, we saw a rainbow! Water droplets and rays of sun combined to create a bow of colors. God says in Genesis 9:13&16, “I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” I praise the Lord for His beauty and His promises!
We lingered at various overlooks taking in the magnificent overview of the canyon. We also lingered in the Lord’s presence. Throughout the day, He revealed multiple meandering messages. Let me continue to share a few more mini-messages.
When we stopped at the overlooks to get a better view, we saw a few burning bushes. Moses encountered a burning bush while taking care of sheep. Exodus 3:2-5 says, “The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.’ When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’” I felt like we were standing on holy ground while being consumed with the scenic surroundings.
We observed the massive rock formations creating the canyon’s walls. Time for another scripture. Psalm 118:22 says, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jesus is the rock, the sure foundation of our lives.
There was an abundance of sunshine throughout the day. The sunshine accentuated the beauty of autumn. I use a play on words while thinking of Jesus as the Son of God and Son of Man. Jesus is our Sonshine. He is with us throughout every day because according to Hebrews 13:5 He never leaves us or forsakes us.
Psalm 96:12 declares, “Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” Today, we have heard the joyful song of the trees in Letchworth State Park. We have sung our praises along with the forest. We have experienced the grandeur of the Grand Canyon of the East and the greatness of our God!