I love variety in life, and, as I consider the God behind this world and all its rich diversity, I can’t help but think He does too. One of the aspects of creation I appreciate is the seasons. I’m always ready for the next. I look forward to the cold, barren winter: snow, and fires in the fireplace, Christmas trees, and big, fuzzy sweaters. By the end of February I’m ready for spring: tulips and daffodils, pink and white blossoms covering the trees, the clean smell of rain. Then comes summer: long days outside, pools, bike rides, and sweaty, red-faced kids.
I love all the above, but my favorite, by far, is autumn. I love the colors: yellow, orange, red, and brown, the colors of warmth. I love watching the leaves fall to the ground like big, colorful raindrops. If I were ever tempted to dance, it would be to dance in the falling leaves. I love how small groups of them flutter across the yard or down the street, caught in a gust of wind. As I take in the beauty of autumn, I can’t help but worship the Creator Who designed it all.
Spring is often referred to as “new life” after the “dead winter.” I guess that would make autumn the precursor to death, the process of dying. But how can something like dying be so beautiful, be so varied and colorful? How can dying feel so much like living?
I believe the answer to this question can be found in God, in Jesus Christ. In His death and resurrection, death was defeated-meaning-it lost its power to be hopeless, final. One who abides in Jesus exists in a type of perpetual autumn- for a believer is always dying: dying to selfishness, dying to pride, dying to all sorts of sinful desires, but this type of death isn’t hopeless or bleak. It’s a dying that is necessary and which brings forth the beautiful, diverse colors of love, purity, honor, humility, i.e. “Christlikeness.”
Those that are experiencing the most “death” in this life are usually the ones with the most beautiful colors to display. Then, just as autumn’s end brings winter’s sleep, so, too, do all who abide in Jesus “sleep.” But this “sleep” isn’t an ending, but a beginning. Just as there must be a winter before there can be a spring, there must be a last day here on earth before there can be a first day in Heaven. In Jesus, death is a beginning.
As I look out my window, I see leaves, once green, dying in order to turn the most beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. But as they fall to the ground I do not despair, for I know after winter comes spring. It is the same for us, Believer. As we “die” to sin daily, we are being changed into the magnificent colors of His likeness, giving glory to the One changing us. And as we face the inevitable “winter’s sleep” coming, we rejoice, knowing that "spring’s" resurrection unto new life surely follows.
II Corinthians 4:5-18; I Thessalonians 4:13-14
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