Changing Seasons - Carol Krum
My husband and I went on a motorcycle ride the other day, wanting to capture the beauty of the changing fall colors. Gazing on the barren trees, having been stripped of their lovely foliage in this season, I was once again reminded of the many birds of the air that had found a safe refuge tucked in the thickness of such beauty, a place for mothers to birth her babies, feed them and ultimately teach them how to fly. Nature has a way of teaching us so many truths about the cycle of life.
Observing those very trees that stand naked in the forest amidst the stalwart evergreens, a question arises within my mind. How can they appear so very dead and yet live? And isn’t it interesting that their limbs always grow upwards, as though praising God in the midst of their stripping! Once in a while, a single robin may even perch on one of those very limbs singing a sweet melody, while perhaps wondering where all the leaves have gone. Where is the shelter from the wind and rain that was once there?
Can we not all relate to such feelings when the storms of life hit us, where the very things the Lord has given us that have been so good and life-giving were suddenly and unexpectedly removed, such as jobs, ministries, relationships, even the life of a loved one. And we find ourselves stripped in some way of the beauty of what once was! Without our permission we are called into a new season of life, where we must catch our breath and get our footing before we can move forward. Just as those naked trees stand in the midst of the unending life of the evergreens, so are we called!
What seems to be lifeless on the outward appearance is in fact exploding with life in the deepest places. During the dormant season, the roots of those trees are actively growing deeper and deeper to find nourishment. They are forced to grow, forced to forge through the darkness making new paths in the dirt that will lead them to their source of new life. While the roots spread further and deeper during the long winter months, the sign of increase will appear in the spring with the tree trunks expanding, the branches growing taller and lush foliage even more beautiful than the year before. With each passing season, those very trees become much stronger, with the capability of withstanding terrific storms without breaking, bending or falling. Hmmm…. Interesting analogy, isn’t it?
Reflecting on these parallels of nature and humanity, I also realize that every single form of life begins in darkness … a seed in the ground, a bird in the egg, a butterfly in a cocoon, a baby in the womb! I say it again, every form of life begins in darkness, created by the Light of the world. In that place of darkness, there is constant activity, albeit miniscule, if measured by the human eye.
When we enter a season that takes us into the darkness of discouragement, fear and confusion, where what we have known has been removed and our sense of security and stability has been shaken, it is then that we must recall what happens in these dark places. The roots of our faith are forced to go to new depths that will sustain us, strengthen us, and empower us as we await the viable presence of God to lift us up once again. Oh how easy it is to be hard on ourselves in these foreign places, finding ourselves unsteady and unsure, frightened and perhaps angry at being forced into such a place, questioning how any good thing can possibly come out of this.
Oh, But God…..
What treasures are being developed within that only God would do during a season such as this! Nothing is for naught when in the hand of the Almighty! He is faithful to always make good come out of everything for those who passionately love and pursue Him. His promises are forever Yes and Amen! He has not taken His eye off of us, nor forsaken us. He will not only carry us through and deliver us from all our troubles, but in the process of earthly time, He will create within us a deeper capacity to carry the increase of love, peace, joy, wisdom, understanding and compassion, thereby strengthening and empowering us to be witnesses of His light of truth and hope to the hurting of the world around us. It is difficult to consider such a process as holy and good while in the midst of it, yet this is one of the ways in which Christ is truly formed within us. Is it any wonder that He tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18,
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
It defies our human logic to be thankful in the midst of such suffering, yet thanksgiving is the very key He has given us to declare our trust in Him. We are being trained up, given an opportunity to exercise the spiritual muscles of our faith through our praise and thanksgiving. What we speak, we become! We must not wait to do it only when we feel like it; we must do it until we feel like! The great mysteries of God will forever defy our human logic and understanding. That is why we can stand faithfully on His promise in Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”
So if you find yourself in such a season as this, may I suggest to you that you put a smile on your heart, lift your hands unto the Lord and say, "I proclaim today that I shall have a very Happy Thanksgiving the Name of Jesus!"
Carol Krum is the Partner Coordinator at the Spokane Headquarters and our resident encourager in joy.