During fall I constantly point out to my daughter the varying colors in the leaves. She’s so trained for this she now points it out herself, but also adds her 4 year-old dramatic flair, “Oh my gosh Mommy, look at that red one. Isn’t it the most beautiful one you ever saw?”
One day, in the midst of our awe over the leaves, she looked at a tree and I could see her little mind pondering for a moment. Then she asked me, “Mommy, are those leaves dying?”
Her question took me off guard. Of course I knew that in autumn the leaves fall off the trees and onto the ground. I guess I just always assumed it was winter that was the “death” part of nature.
But really, Jaana was right…in fall is where the actual dying occurs.
We sit and marvel at the beauty of fall. We celebrate the colors it brings, the change, the new season. But for the little leaf hanging on the tree, it probably doesn’t feel so beautiful anymore. It’s missing its sun shining on it day after day after day. It’s slowly losing the greenness that makes it feel like a real leaf, and probably feels lonely. It’s probably wondering why the sun has deserted it and feels like it was left to die.
As I thought about Jaana’s question, I was suddenly struck by a thought. God must think it’s beautiful too. Not just the actual season of fall, but the autumns of our soul. When we start to lose the habits, characteristics and sin that need to be shed from our lives, he must marvel at our beauty. To us, we feel like that leaf, like it’s a slow death. We're grasping to hold on, not wanting to let go of what we know, what is comfortable. We wonder what happened to our Son, why doesn’t it feel like He’s shining on me anymore?
But the truth is that the Son is always there, and always has been. Sometimes it just takes us feeling like there's a little less of Him in our lives for us to realize that change is inevitable. Sometimes it just takes us feeling like there's a little less of Him in our lives for us to realize how much we need Him. It’s all part of the season.
Then there God is, watching and saying,
"Isn't she beautiful?"
Then he sits back and reflects that it is good, it is good, it is good.
God loves us too much for us to stay green. Autumns of our souls are all part of the process that we cannot escape. How wonderful that when we’re going through difficult transitions in life, God is watching. He's celebrating our change of season and marveling at the beauty of His creation. Most loving of all, He's letting us feel the Son shine just long enough for us to get through each day.
“Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.” (Psalm 31:16)