Ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) leaves. Source: Plants of the world online

During my darkest hours, I have experienced that God often provides a tangible symbol of hope, some object whose beauty attracts me. One significant token for me has been the delicate angel-shaped gingko leaf whose lush green of summer blazes into vibrant yellow in the fall.

My history with these beautiful leaves holds great significance. One despairing time, I found myself searching for a home in an area where prices were out of reach. My living situation had become horrendous, even dangerous. One day as I was leaving a friend’s apartment, discouraged, I looked down and saw the most beautiful fan-shaped leaf. Having no idea where it had come from or what kind of tree produced it, I bent down and picked up that single, yellow leaf. At home I placed it on my desk where I had a glimpse of it every day as I sat down to work.

One work day, I drove down a tree-lined street in an inviting neighborhood and saw a “For Sale by Owner” sign on a lovely brick house with a wide front porch. Knowing the area, I assumed I would never be able to afford it. I did nothing. I drove by that area week after week. The sign remained. One weekend, for some reason, I called to inquire about the home. I was astounded to find out that I could afford it! I made an appointment and went to look at the house. I loved it and made application, concerned I would not be approved.

A week went by. Many were praying for me. I took family through the house, and the owners were very welcoming. But I heard no news. Finally, one day I called them, holding my breath, braced for the decision, and they said, “Of course you have the house! We assumed you knew!”

I was invited to start storing boxes right away as I gave notice to my current landlords. At last, final moving day arrived! As furniture was being loaded into the moving van, I packed my office. There on the corner of my desk was the little, yellow, fan-shaped leaf that I had kept for the better part of a year. I almost tried to take it with me but realized it would likely get crushed in the process, so I took the leaf outside, said a prayer of thanks, and released it from the place where I once had been content but had become unhappy.

I moved into the God-sent house and, feeling blessed, began making it my home. Then came my favorite season: fall. One day in the backyard, I looked down, and there was my little, yellow, fan-shaped leaf! To my amazement, I realized that I had my very own gingko tree! Right then, those leaves became a symbol of hope in a hopeless time for me.

Sometimes we cannot see in the darkness where we find ourselves. But He is there. He would never leave us alone without reason to hope. When I look back at the time He gave me that symbol, capturing my heart, I realize I did not know then what I was holding.

I believe these tokens are a loving Father’s sign that He has not abandoned you. If you are in a time of darkness, ask for your symbol of hope. May it bring you peace, joy, and certainty that you are walking into His glorious light. Every good thing is there for you, whether you see it or not.

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of