Many people think of autumn as a sad time of year – the fall; a time of decline into sombre winter. Of course, it can be spectacularly beautiful – but sad, all the same.
Over a month ago now, I was looking at some beech leaves, golden and about to fall. Just above each was a tiny bud, the promise of new leaves after long, dark winter days. And I began to think of the leaves that were already drifting past me on the breeze. Yes, they would gradually rot away. But as they do, they release nutrients into the soil that will nourish the tree, from which they fell, in years to come.
It’s always a bit sad when summer’s gone. No more hot sunshine, just the prospect of long nights, wet weather, wind, frost and snow. But as I look at the little buds next to the falling leaves, I also see promise – next spring and summer.
I guess we all go through times of ‘spiritual winter’. Somehow, God doesn’t seem to be doing much in and through us. And there doesn’t seem anything to speak of coming up over the horizon. We look back and remember times when we seemed so spiritually alive and active, enjoying the tangible presence of God. But where is it now?
As I was thinking about this, I felt God reminding me just how important it is to live by His promises. It’s so easy, isn’t it, to get all our encouragement from the here and now. And, when we enter a ‘winter season’, to look back with a feeling that ‘the harvest is past, the summer has ended’ (Jeremiah 8:20) and now we have little or nothing. But that’s not to say that God has, so to speak, taken a winter break.
The falling leaves from the trees will nourish next year’s growth. Will I allow the experiences and lessons of the last ‘spiritual summer’ to nourish me in readiness for the next season when God moves in and through me again? The buds of next year’s leaves and blossom are already there. Will I value and protect them, looking forward to the time when the ‘spring rains’ of the moving of His Spirit once again bring growth? Will I allow God the space and time to nourish my spirit in preparation for the next season of fruitfulness?
Prayer: Dear Father, thank You so much for all that You have done in and through me. Thank You that You use the times when I’m less aware of Your activity in my life to prepare me for all that You have in store for me. Please help me to use these times well, so that when Your new season comes, I will be fruitful for You. Amen.
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