And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
When a leaf falls,
In timing of His own,
He makes them fall.
Blanketing barren ground
With the colors of His love.
When our leaves begin to wither
He gently touches them with hope
Creating rainbow dancing.
Autumn is my favorite time of the year. For many people it is a sad season because it reminds us that winter is stockpiling shivering temperatures, whiplash winds, and snow mountains. Today I stood at the fourth-floor window of my husband’s hospital room, staring at a patchwork of trees blending their colored leaves into a quilt of color. I saw them but, I did not really see them or the river winding its way through them. Tears blinded my eyes and my mind and heart felt like they were blowing in a freezing winter wind. “Our lives are like those leaves,” I thought bleakly. We are born, live for a time, some of us more colorfully than others, and then life and biology make us fall and wither away. My husband is fragile like an autumn leaf ready for winter rest.
He had survived a week in the critical care unit, but the road ahead looked full of brown, withered, dead leaves instead of the colorful leaf quilt spread out underneath me. I pondered the problems that I had to try to solve: safety, comfort, financial. The stress and tension of the past weeks exploded like a volcano and tears dripped down my cheeks like autumn rain on the multi-pane windows.
I know God knows what is happening and He cares. I am frustrated with myself for not feeling an overpowering sense of God’s love and praising him without sadness in my heart twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. I expect to be a perfect Christian without any doubts or fears or sadness and anguish. If I had faith, wouldn’t I just feel Christian joy all of the time like I feel when I look at autumn leaves, freshly fallen snow, budding leaves in the spring and leafy forests in the summer? How do negative feelings like doubt fit into faith?
I stare at the trees that God has decorated with autumn, and I ponder how God has planted us in different places in his world, but all of us beside the rivers of water. He helps us bring forth the fruit of every season of our lives and no matter what the season. When our leaves in the form of events in our lives and our faith begin to wither, he does not allow them to die or life and hope to die. If my husband dies in this autumn season when the leaves float gracefully down from the trees, we might think they are withering and dying, but they are really returning to the earth where God planted their trees. If he dies in this autumn season, he will not wither and die never to live again. Christ has given us the assurance that He did not wither and die but rose again to give us eternal life.
When a leaf falls and snuggles into the ground or under scuffling feet of people who love to walk in leaves or jump in piles of them, it does not die. It returns to the soil to nourish it until it is time to reawaken in spring and begin its life cycle again.
When I look at the paintbox leaves, I feel an overpowering sense of God’s love and care for all of His creation and his presence inside and outside of all of us if we just listen to Him. I watch the leaves waltzing in the wind and even when a powerful gust scatters them in all directions, I know that no matter if my doubts go up and down from day to day or even minute to minute,
When our leaves begin to wither,
God gently touches them with hope
Creating rainbow dancing.
And when winter rest comes, Christ gives us the promise of spring, summer, and rainbow dancing.