We have a huge oak tree outside, and over the past few weeks we have seen the change from the healthy green leaves of Summer and the wet weather, to all of the autumn colours, and finally seen as many of the leaves have fallen to the ground. Piles of leaves lie on the ground, brown and dried out. Each day, more and more fall, and the colours change on the leaves.
I was recently chatting to our children about Autumn, the seasons, what happens in Autumn, and this tree is a really amazing example. We found a book on the season of Autumn, and I learned a whole lot about how and why the colours of the leaves change and what the process is. I thought how much our lives are like these trees.
Here’s a bit about what I learned. When the days start to get shorter and the nights longer, the absence of light tells the trees to stop making food. The leaves begin to die. The Chlorophyll which makes the trees’ leaves green starts to diminish slowly, causing the other colours of the leaves to show. Once this happens the stem of the leaf grows weak and the leaf falls off.
In this time which we all find ourselves in, there seems to be an absence of light, a darkness, and the grip of fear and uncertainty. In a sense, all that we know of the Summer months, all of the freedom we had just a few short weeks ago, is gone. We are in a whole new season. We have all experienced a sense of loss, of grief and hardship; the pain of change.
The branches look bare and stark. All of the leaves which were thriving and full of life have now changed colour and fallen off. Maybe, like me, you feel like that stark tree on some days.
In this book about Autumn, it shows a photo of a tree without all of its leaves; it looks so different to its Summer self. But something I learned is that it talks about how in the Winter months, where the tree seems to be lying dormant and bare, barren and lifeless, it is really just having its REST. In this time the tree is preparing and little buds line the branches where the leaves once were. The buds are tough enough to withstand the frosty Winter. These buds protect the new green leaves that will unfold in Spring.
We may be in a very uncertain, scary and unknown time. We may feel like all of what we knew is gone, and that our leaves have fallen off our tree, and we are left bare. I urge us to let this be a time of REST; to let God be our focus. He does have a plan for Spring and for Summer, and He is protecting those precious buds throughout the Winter so that the new green leaves may emerge when the time is right.
Lord, during this time of ‘Winter’, would you help us to rest:
1. Rest in the past knowledge of Your provision in our lives
2. Rest in Your presence with us each day
3. Rest in the promises of our future and hope in You
Here are some promises the Lord has given me to hold onto:
Nahum 1:7 – The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him.
Haggai 2:5 – My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.
Psalm 18:46 – God is alive! Praise Him who is the great rock of protection.
What promises has He spoken over your life that you could remind yourself of in this time?