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Fall Leaves

The fall is the time of year when thousands of sightseers pack up for a weekend getaway, depart on a scheduled vacation, or board a tour bus to travel country roads and highways for the sole purpose of discovering tree-covered mountainsides swathed in autumn leaves. Itís like a treasure hunt, where the prize at the end is to be gazing out over a breathtaking panorama of fall colors.

Going all the way back to creation, God imparted in certain trees the necessity of the chlorophyll, or the green in the leaves, to be dependent on the sun. The direct sunlight that is in abundance from the long days of spring and summer produces the green leaves we enjoy for months. 

As we get past summer and head toward the winter months, the earthís rotation away from the sun becomes noticeable. The days become shorter, and that diminishes the amount of direct sunlight the chlorophyll needs to produce green. The yellow, red and orange colors, which have been in the leaves all along, finally have a chance to break through as the green in the leaves disappears.

This is an outcome no botanist or horticulturist can duplicate in a greenhouse. Only the God of the universe is capable of causing leaves, which have been green since spring, to transition into shades of red, orange and yellow in the fall. 

Despite the beauty that one sees when the trees are seen from afar, and when all the colors are merged into a dramatic palette of color, I gained a different perspective after I moved to North Carolina.

From afar, when all the trees can be seen en masse, one only sees the beautiful colors, and this brings sightseers from around the country to view them in all their glory. However, though there are some species of trees that turn colors beautifully, and even close up they are gorgeous, the leaves of most trees become speckled with black and brown spots, and they begin deteriorating before the leaves completely change their color. You donít see this ugliness from a distance, but you do close up. Eventually, the leaves turn gray, fall off and only bare, exposed limbs remain. Where is the beauty now? Where are the busloads of tourists with their binoculars and cameras? 

As a young girl, I attended a neighborhood Good News Club through which I became familiar with the Wordless Book. Each of its five pages is of a different color, and the green page represents Christian growth. The transition of the leavesí colors reminds me of this page. In this case, however, the s-u-n becomes the S-o-n. The more believers are exposed to the Son, the more His light makes a significant impact on them. Their spiritual lives become green, or in other words, spiritually healthy and vibrant.

Keep in mind that when the leaves of the trees change colors, itís not a process that happens overnight. Itís gradual. The same is true for believers. When they spend less time in the word and less time in fellowship with their heavenly Father, the S-o-n has less and less influence on believersí lives. Before they realize it, they have moved away from the Lord and the colors of their hearts and lives begin to change. Unfortunately, most believers donít notice the changes themselves, but it does become noticeable to others.

Thatís why believers are encouraged to regularly spend time in the Word and in prayer. Just the slightest movement away from the S-o-n can alter their colors and what others see. Even when a person appears to have it all together, and from a distance we might covet what they seem to have, up close we might gain a different perspective.

After spending time in their presence, it will generally become apparent that the S-o-n isnít a major influence in their lives. Thatís not to say these folks arenít wonderful, kind people, itís just that their priorities and interests in life are no longer Son-centered. And, while they most likely donít see it themselves, a closer look will reveal gray areas and a bareness that can only be filled with Jesus. 

But just as autumn lasts only for a season, as does winter, alas there is spring! The sun begins to do its magical work in bringing forth green leaves, as well as blossoms in gorgeous whites, yellows, purples, pinks, oranges, and every color imaginable. So, if you find yourself in a spiritual slump or depression because you havenít been spending time in the S-o-n, the solution is simple. His forgiveness, His grace and His love can transform your brown, dull leaves, or conditions of your life, into beautiful, colorful qualities that radiate His beauty.

The chorus of one of my favorite Gaither songs describes this process perfectly:

Something beautiful, Something good,
All my confusion He understood,
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.

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