I’m driving down the hill, a last minute run to town. My plans for the day included unclogging my kitchen sink and catching up on my dishes but instead, I’m running errands. I’m praying for a good attitude. I glance around and my breath catches hard.
God painted a sunset into the treetops.
The colors are so vivid, so fiery, so full. I caught the peak of autumn glory. Suddenly, I am thankful for my run to town. I whisper the words of gratitude into the stillness of the truck and then God says something unexpected.
“Do you remember how the beauty comes?”
I stare at the splashes of brilliant red and blazing orange and soft yellow. Their beauty comes from dying. The trees cut off the life-giving sap to the leaves and they die. One by one. And in the dying, they blaze.
Sometimes death brings beauty.
And if they did not, if the tree left the leaves to live year-round, when winter hit with the blistering cold and ice storms and heavy snow, they would weigh the branches down and break. The whole tree would die.
Sometimes death actually brings life.
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.” (John 12:24)
Blistering, fiery, painful truth. There are things in my life that are only here for a season and if I cling to them beyond that season they will bring death but if I surrender them and let them fall I’ll actually find life.
And maybe, perhaps, even a little beauty.
Some of the things that I’ve had to let go of these past few years have been painful and heart-wrenching. There were two adoptions that were so close I could taste them. Especially that little five-year-old boy. He was in New York City and I was already planning the trip to bring him home.
It is so easy to get lost in the, “but why not, God?” and so hard to stay in the, “You are good and I trust.”
But He is good.
And the leaves fall that would bring death in winter.
And I trust.
For in every winter, there is the promise of spring.