"Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth..." (Genesis 8:11 NKJV).
I like to think of the serendipities of life as new leaves. Imagine the surprise and relief, the joy and wonder, Noah felt when the dove came back with a new leaf. It meant new life for Noah and his family. Many wonderful things happen to us in the course of a day, too, if we recognize them. Each day itself is a new leaf. An exciting idea is a new leaf that grows into many leaves of an article or book. A delicious meal, a visit from a friend, an unexpected letter with good news, a compliment, an unusually beautiful sunrise or sunset, an affecting cantata: these are leaves of hope and love. It's an appealing thought.
Sometimes all we want is a leaf of a thank you that will stimulate us to further actions. Perhaps our child needs a leaf of appreciation. A student gives a professor a leaf when she tells him that others have recommended his course because he is such a good teacher. Our friend receives a leaf when we write and say, "I love you and I miss you."
There is yet another compelling thought here: if we but wait, as Noah had to, we will have joy again. At times circumstances seem impossible and it is easier to give up. The black raven of despair, the carrion bird, settles in our hair and in our heart and we are so tempted to let it make a nest and eat away at our vital life. But our gracious Father will not allow that! The dove, symbol of gentleness, brought Noah the sign of deliverance, and He will do the same for us. Our fruitful land may yet be far off, but God will finally send us His dove with an olive leaf of deliverance! In the meantime, God asks that we trust Him; that we remain within the ark of the circumstance until His good time. How difficult this is! For now He is asking us to prepare ourselves for a great mercy from Him that we can share with others. It is the broken heart that understands other broken hearts. God is getting us ready to share leaves!