Fall is my favorite season.
The crisp air, the color on the trees, the warmth of hot drinks, the delightful aroma of pumpkin bread baking, the smell of cinnamon sticks or mulling cider. All of these bring wonderful memories as well as exciting ideas—despite spending a majority of my life in states that weren’t warm enough to have a true fall, or any seasons really. ;)
But there’s another thing fall reminds me of: change.
You see, even though the leaves turn vibrant colors, they quickly fall off the trees and die. The season of life and color ends. That's the part of fall I don't like so much.
Some seasons of our lives feel like an incredibly long fall, but more in the dead leaves, bleak skies, and freezing-cold sense. We wonder when the excitement of life will come back. We question what God could be up to. How could He redeem such miserable days?
I don’t like seasons in life that are dry or difficult. But God, in His gentle care, sometimes leaves us in those hard seasons for reasons we don’t often understand. However, He always means for it to turn us to Him. And in those moments of despair and weakness, He shows us His comfort and strength in ways we never recognized while things were easy.
The picture of death found in fall is not the most pleasant, but a necessary one. Without death, there would be no beautiful new life when the trees blossom in the spring. And in the same vein, without dying to self, there is no spiritual life. That spiritual death and growth is frequently accomplished through the seasons and circumstances we hate the most. Tim Keller says,
"Believers understand many doctrinal truths in the mind, but those truths seldom make the journey down into the heart except through disappointment, failure, and loss." (Walking with God through Pain and Suffering)It is through those hard circumstances and seasons that God works most deeply. He gently purifies the ugly parts of our hearts and teaches us to love Him most of all. He solidifies in our hearts the truths we formerly only knew in our heads. And perhaps what's even more amazing, He walks through the difficulty with us. He never leaves us in the darkness alone, despite how it may feel like He has abandoned you.
So let the changes of life seasons drive you to the One who never changes, the One who will never fail you, and the One who is using the death you now feel to bring abundant life.