Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year here. The trees are magnificent with their palette of colors, like God took his paint brush and splashed the most brilliant of colors He has all over them. The sky is the most pure of blues. The sun, while still warm, is gentle on your face. But it is also a time of transition - transition into winter.
It can be bone chilling cold here in Michigan in winter. The kind of cold that takes your breath away. The kind of cold that makes you feel like your bones could just snap. The kind of cold that makes you long for spring. The blue of the sky is rarely seen. Instead it is usually a dark, heavy gray that you can feel weighing down on your shoulders. But every once in a while there is a day that is sunny & warmer than normal and teases you that spring is on the way, a promise of things to come. But winter here is much longer than the calender tells us, lasting sometimes into mid April, so you know you must wait a little longer. But then......
The days get longer, the temperatures stay warmer for days at a time and the wind blows in the smell of spring. The smell of wet, dark earth and the fresh, clean, smell of green. The rains come and wash away the leftovers of winter. Things that were brown begin showing tinges of color. Branches that have been bare become heavy with buds. Spring bulbs poke tentative, tiny green shoots up through the ground. And you long to be out in God's creation. The time of self-imposed hibernation is over and the outside beckons.
When I pull those dead leaves off & uncover tender, new green shoots poking through the dirt, I am always reminded of the work God has done in my life. Of how He rescued me from a very long, dark winter season in my life. I had buried myself in more than leaves for several years. God gently uncovered all the dead & dirt from my life to show me how I could become new in Him. He breathed new life in me through His Son.
And yet, the gentleness and newness of spring does not last. Soon, the sun will become fierce and the rains that were so plentiful dwindle or stop all together. If these new plants are not watered and fed, they become wilted and brown. New growth dries up and if not tended and cared for, dies. Yet if nurtured and tended to, these plants become strong. They grow tall, reaching up to the sun and can withstand the heat it will soon bring.
Very much like my soul. If I do not let God nurture and tend to me, my soul dries up, withers, becomes brown. I do not grow tall or strong and cannot withstand the heat of the circumstances of my life. God does not wish for my soul to become brown and brittle. Jesus said ,"I am the vine and my Father is the gardner......you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;.....This is to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit..." (John 15: 1, 5, & 8)
God, this is my prayer:
Tend to my soul and nourish it. Remind me, when necessary, that I cannot feed myself, only You can reach those places in me that need tending to the most. Help me to remain in You, so that I can bear much fruit for You, no matter what the season of my life. Amen