Autumn brings a joy to my soul that I can’t contain. I absolutely marvel at the explosive bursts of color that seem to appear overnight, and am literally caught breathless at the sight of mountains alive with yellows and oranges and reds.
Each autumn, I’m reminded of something God taught me a few years ago. It was October of 2008 when God used Jaana to first bring this revelation to light for me. And every fall since, as I am struck speechless at autumn’s beauty, He gently reminds me again and again of this insight.
Below is my original post from October 2008. Happy falling.
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It’s the crispness in the air, the deep blue of the sky, the variety of color in the leaves. It’s the golden glow that seems to never end, the anticipation of change, the welcome relief of a new season. It’s like autumn awakens my soul.
Every fall I 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 leaf 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. But 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 dying occurs.
As living creatures, we marvel at the beauty of fall. We celebrate the colors it brings, the change, the new season. But for that little leaf hanging on the tree, I don’t think it feels so beautiful. I think it misses the extra hours of sun shining on it day after day after day. As it slowly lose the greenness that makes it feel like a real leaf, I bet it feels lonely; 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. He must marvel at our beauty when we start to lose the habits, characteristics and sin nature that need to be shed from our lives. We feel like that leaf — the painful and slow death of our flesh. We grasp to hold on with feverish determination, not wanting to let go of what we know and what is comfortable. We wonder what happened to the Son, why doesn’t it feel like He’s shining on me anymore?
But the truth is that the Son is still there, always constant. Sometimes He feels hidden by the clouds of our circumstances. Sometimes the night seems to fall sooner and we lose our faith. But He’s always there. We just might not be facing Him.
And as we live out the season, gasping for breath, trying to hold on for dear life…God is watching closely, marveling and saying
“Isn’t she beautiful? She takes My breath away.”
Then he sits back and reflects that it is good, it is good, it is good.
Then we fall to the ground and feel broken. But the most beautiful part of the process is that the winter comes to insulate. And come spring, new life sprouts forth. Bigger and more beautiful.
God loves us too much to let us stay green. Autumns of our souls are a crucial part we cannot ignore in the process of life. When we’re going through difficult transitions in life, God is watching…celebrating the new season and marveling at the beauty of His creation…letting us feel enough of the Son shine to get us through the day.
“Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.” (Psalm 31:16)