We live in an area where Fall displays its full glory. Oaks, maples, birch and poplar combine to make a stunning wonderland of our surroundings every September.
The leaves arrest us with wonder; and then they fade and tremble, uncertain, before letting go of what once was, to accept what will be. The letting go is its own beauty as they lay themselves down to shelter and sustain the seeds not yet reaching for the light.
What kind of God designs such beauty? It would have been easier to create leaves that simply shrivel up in drab browns – but no! We have a God who expresses Himself in a zillion glittering stars; in the thousands of lenses in a simple housefly’s eye; in shimmering peacock tails and in flashing schools of synchronized, dancing fish.
A God who invented rainbows and sunsets and vast forests of trees alight with autumn glory.
Fall always reminds me that I haven’t given myself over to a creed or a rule book. No, I belong to a God who creates beauty for the sheer joy of it; a God who delights in the colorful confetti of an autumn forest; and who somehow, inexplicably, sees beauty in me.
In this autumn of my life, I have had to let go of the expectation that my physical body may one day return to its youthful state. The added weight and wrinkles match my graying hair to render me on the downside of life’s trajectory. Now, like the fallen leaves filling the woods around me, I hope to nourish others with the life given me; with the wisdom gained through the flourishing, green years now past.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.2 Corinthians 4:16
I think of the ones who sheltered and nurtured my seedling faith: the pastors and teachers, authors and leaders. I contemplate the ones who welcomed me, encouraged me, and who prayed for me. The ones who parted the curtain into eternity before my hungry eyes. Now it is mine to pass on the glimpses of glory that I have witnessed to the sapling souls around me.
Like a fading leaf, I have been reluctant to let go, hesitant to trust that my landing place has purpose. And, as always, the choice is mine; I can grieve the changes, or continue to offer myself as a living sacrifice to the One who is preparing for me a home and a welcome beyond anything I can imagine. The One who sees me, plain and brown on the forest floor, and still calls me beautiful.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.Isaiah 46:3