I walked by that tree in the springtime, when it was bursting forth with tiny buds, ready to break open at any time. Then I watched as the Spring rains came, feeding its roots as the buds gently began to open, displaying its leaves. Nurtured by sunshine, day by day, the tree flourished and grew.
By summer, it was in full display with freshly unfolded emerald-green leaves swaying back and forth, glistening with the sunshine’s warmth. Through the rainy, stormy days it stood strong, as the pressing winds beat against its boughs. Even the summer heat did not weaken this majestic form, as it continued to grow.
But then, as one season transforms into another, more changes became visible. The leaves began to display a mix of colors. Bright yellow, vibrant orange, and rusty-red, with touches of brown in place of green. Yes, another season had arrived. Fall time, also called Autumn, which happens to be the favorite season of many here in the Midwest, transforms into a time of glorious splendor and beauty. God the Creator, takes His palette of colors, and with His brush of broad strokes, paints Himself a masterpiece for all to see. What breathtaking beauty and splendor!
But in time, as the air changes, with colder gusts of winds that start whipping the leaves around into spiral swirls, they break loose from their secure place, floating down to the hard, cold, ground. Once displayed in glorious wonder – they now lay still, turning brittle and brown, only to be trampled upon. Winter has arrived.
This once flourishing tree, with vibrant green leaves that evolved into colors of splendor, again has a change in appearance. The branches turn gray and brittle, and would snap easily in the harsh, cold wind. It looks lonely and barren. And as the brutal winter winds continue to beat against the tree, one would wonder, ‘how could this tree survive until Spring?’
Drastic transformation in just a few months time. But somehow, when the harsh winter has ended, the cycle begins all over again. And that tree that looked hopelessly barren, begins to take on another form again. The tree, that seemed to be in its dormant stage of life, never stopped growing. Only to the human eye during winter season did it look lifeless.
But God had His eye upon that tree all the time. Through the Spring, He nourished it with gentle sun and rain, and watered its roots enough to endure the brutal heat of Summer. Through the harsh, brutally cold season, covered in ice and snow, He took it through Winter, preparing it once again for a brand new Spring. And so the cycle goes.
Isn’t that how our lives are at times? In Ecclesiastes the third chapter, we read that for everything under the heaven there is a time and purpose. A time – a season. A purpose – a reason. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.
Unfortunately, there are seasons that you and I would rather never, ever go through. We all want to laugh our way through life, and never have moments of sadness. Of course we do! We all want to be happy all the time. And we are thankful for those seasons of happiness and prosperity. But life isn’t always going to be that way. There will also be seasons of struggle, discouragement, and heartache. Just as the winter tree looked lonely and barren without its beautiful display of colored leaves, you and I will have our times of loneliness, and moments of emptiness and despair.
But remember – you are passing through the Season.
When we fully trust God through every season of our lives, He will comfort us in sorrow and grief, fill us with joy when we need it, and strengthen us as we grow spiritually day by day, regardless of what season we happen to be in at the time.
Look to Him. He is the Creator of all things. He is the Author and Finisher of not just our faith, but of all the seasons that we walk through in this life.
I believe that nothing we go through is ever wasted in God. There are times it just doesn’t make sense to us, and we question why. But there is a purpose, whether it is to increase our faith and teach us to trust Him, reveal something to us about ourselves that we need to know or see, or just simply to show us His glory and greatness – so we can minister and be a witness to others.
Just as God takes the barren winter tree, and majestically transforms it once again in the season of springtime, He can do the same for you and me, as we rest in Him with His peace and comfort, trusting Him through all the seasons of our lives.