As my family and I were driving to worship last Sunday morning, I commented to my passengers how beautiful the fall leaves were. In spite of the harsh, dry weather, the trees have not disappointed me, truly demonstrating the artistic flair of God. My wife echoed my sentiments and our children were soon pointing out which clusters of leaves they especially enjoyed.
“Look at that red!” “I like the orange best!” “Those yellow over there are really bright!” So we continued to drive for the next couple of miles while they continued to “oo” and “ah” over the arboreal fireworks. Then the voice of our youngest son rang out, “Look at THOSE leaves! They’re brown! They’re dead!”
I glanced at him quickly in the rearview mirror and wondered at how quickly our conversation had turned from the wonder over the beauty surrounding us to the grim acknowledgement that, yes, there were also the portents of death.
“Well, yes,” I began as I thought hard about how to respond. “Of course, you know that they’re just getting ready to make room for the new leaves that will come in the spring.” He and the others didn’t reply but grew silent as they considered what I had said.
I also continued to consider it, realizing that there was a significant parallel for how we live our lives. There are two dangers in general that we may fall into as we journey through life. The first is to be so enamored with our surroundings or so caught up with the enjoyment of ourselves that we fail to see our own eternal destiny before us and ignore the reminders that all of this life is temporary. Not only that, but this season of our existence that we call “life” is also our time of opportunity to prepare for the season that comes after death. We love the green leaves of life, its loving relationships and pleasurable experiences. We love the beautiful oranges, yellows, and reds of success, recognition, and sweet memories.
But do we also see the brown leaves hanging from the tree branches of our lives? Are we sometimes oblivious to the fact that “all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field” (Isaiah 40:6 NIV)? Or perhaps we simply don’t recognize that “The grass withers and the flowers fall…” (Isaiah 40:7a NIV). Whatever the case, failing to recognize our own mortality is a fatal mistake.
On the other hand, the second great snare into which we can proverbially place our feet is the excessive fascination with death. If we go to outrageous extremes, for example, to physically prepare for death by trying to establish earthly legacies so that future generations will always remember us, like an ancient pharaoh building an enormous pyramid as a monument to himself, we’ve become too fixated on the “brown and falling leaves” of our lives.
If we romanticize death and treat it like an old friend, decorating our lives with little tokens of death, then we are perhaps failing to recognize that death itself is not our hope, but rather what God will do beyond death for all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.
Or we may be simply worrying and fretting about death to the extent that we are too fearful to live in the here and now, like paralyzed little birds waiting the bite of the striking snake. What kind of life is a life wasted in terror of what is inevitable?
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:51-57 NIV).
The fact is that while there is the potential of a winter without a spring (should one choose to not receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ), there is for those who do yield to God’s offer of forgiveness and love, a spring that will never again submit to winter. As God moves in your heart and invites you to trust His Son, allow the beauty and healing that He longs to bring to your soul come as you respond to Jesus’ right as Lord and Savior of your life.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40: 8 NIV).
Friend, I will not copy your work to share. But there are some I'd like to share it with. So I will just send them here. It is good to know that no matter where we are today, we always have hope in Christ.