A week or two ago, I was driving down a road in our neighborhood thinking how beautiful it was. You know, when the leaves on the trees form a colorful canopy over the street. Most of the leaves become a bright shade of yellow, red, orange, or a deep purple. Have you noticed, though, that not all the leaves change? Sometimes one side of the tree has leaves of bright colors, while the other side remains green. Often, the ones that get the best direct sunlight change colors, while the ones that remain in shadow stay a light green.
The trees look so FULL, and the branches so heavy, that it does seem natural for those leaves to fall off. Necessary, even.
Because this season is when the trees have grown to their greatest potential, and there’s no room left for anything else. Nothing new can grow. The branches droop with the fullness of growth.
So, the leaves fall, cascading onto the road and surrounding yards, turning brown and leaving the tree branches bare and lonely. And in Winter, the branches return to their upright position: tall and straight, reaching for whatever warmth the sun can reign down on them.
Isn’t it interesting that during the time they have the least warmth from the air around them, the branches are still reaching for the sun, trusting that it is there, knowing they need to store up the nutrients it supplies for the next season?
And after Winter gives in to Spring, new leaves appear. New, fresh leaves that have not yet been on this earth.
Maybe we are like the trees, and our lives are like these seasons. God grows us and grows us, changing us as he shines his light into our life. The places we allow him to see and reign down upon change from a flat, consistent plateau to the new, bright, exciting color of the fullness of life. He grows us until we can’t fathom or hold anything else, and then he strips us of whatever we are too full of, making room for new growth. And if we continue to reach for him during those cold, bare seasons, then he births and brings forth something in us that we’ve never experienced before: new life.
Isn’t it interesting that the position of praise is raising one’s arms high, reaching for the heavens, just like the trees’ branches reaching for the sun?
Those winter seasons in our life, while usually the most difficult, are when we draw closest to the warmth of our Father. And when we come around the corner into Spring, we not only have room in our hearts to receive more of his grace, goodness, and blessings, but we are also prepared with strong tall branches to support new growth.
Disclosure: None of the images above belong to me.