The leaves fall like grace around me. Autumn, in all her brilliance, dances round and her dress swings out wide and everyone watches, hushed quiet by her beauty. Red, orange, yellow, green, purple, twirling across the tree tops. She dances under the vibrant blues and the cameras click and eyes refuse to blink. Because they know, we know don’t we? She dances for only a moment. And then she sits breathless. We hold our breath. She’s gone.
One by one the trees strip down, that beautiful dress lying in crumpled pieces on the floor and their boney limbs are all that’s left. Naked, they stand. The cameras stop, the people return. What is there to see? Where is the beauty in wrinkled brown bark and knobby twigs sprawling to the sky?
The leaves fall like grace around me. Seasons promised, over and over they will continue. And aren’t we all really just like the trees? Don’t we all experience the seasons?
Summer, with the sun and the rain and the balmy morning sky, everything is right and good. Like the green leaves shaking in the summer breeze, His people sing His praises with fearless joy and it gives life. Others stand round and breathe, spirits refreshed.
And then the temperatures drop. The rainbow falls upon the trees, and all you can do is wrap it around tight and hope on the promises. Now it takes effort: I will believe You when You say __________ because Your Word tells me so and You are a faithful God. I will trust You through this season, this trial, because You are true and You are trustworthy. Your love never fails. And we hold on, sometimes to fear as well, because it’s hard not to. But we can’t let go of Him. That is the key. The trial comes and we do not let go of Him, or reject Him and what He says, but we hold it close. And then? Something beautiful happens. The colors appear and it’s a glory all its own.
But sometimes the days, they don’t get warmer and the nights do not get any shorter. Where is the respite? When will You turn my sorrow into laughter? Winter threatens a long hard season and these leaves are turning brown on me. We send our knuckled hands to heaven. “Why are you doing this? Where is my sun? Where are my leaves?” The tears fall and the struggle is real because this is hard. He knows that.
“… in the days of His (Yeshua’s) flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:7-9
Yeshua offered up painful cries. When King of all creation left His place on high to walk where men walk and experience life on earth from the vantage point of a human being, He suffered and cried. Your Savior can relate to pain.
Winter is the season of surrender, and the beauty? It’s breathtaking. Knee bending. A soul stripped bare like one lover to another. No hiding or pretending; the masks fall easily because your heart bleeds fresh and you don’t care if He knows, because He already knows, so yea this is me. Here I am God. Do You still love me? Do I still love You?
For every yes, spring will come.
Like a bud upon the branch is love that has withstood the test, and of this we can be confident, “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” Phil. 1:6
Hang on to your love (despite the circumstance), and know with confidence that the ground beneath your leafless tree will thaw (despite the circumstance). And when it does? That root system will be stronger than before and you will drink water abundant and the leaves will come in droves. New life.
Faith and hope are so intimately connected.
If the season you are experiencing is difficult, hold fast to faith. Even if the boughs are empty, cling to faith that the fruit will come and allow yourself to hope in Him. Hope can stand when the bills pile, or the diagnosis isn’t good, or the marriage is suffering. But how can there be hope when all seems hopeless? Because the only thing worthy of hope will forever stand. He is a Rock. And as life twists and turns unexpectedly (or doesn’t twist and turn) and the leaves fall to the floor all brown and brittle, know too that we are but falling leaves. We are here for only a season. Fix your eyes on the only One worthy of hope and know that He is doing a great work in you. Accept His grace as you journey. And accept His truth as well.
He has created seasons, both for the trees and for His people. These brown trees will once again sprout green. Lady Autumn will dance again. Winter will come and then winter will pass.
There is a time for everything.