Fall, it is well upon us. Today I’m headed to the mountains to see what is left of the fall color. Such beauty, that is rich and good and also the first sign that something is dying. What a strange truth. The leaves bear vibrant color and life, just before they fall to the ground only to be swept away and discarded. Life and death. There is no worry for the tree in this cycle. It knows it’s role and it know that the dying is preparation for life. Death, rest, life; a cycle that is a part of the earth and also a part of my life.
This morning a friend and I were chatting about how life has been since I’ve been back from Spain and Europe. We chatted about truth I lived into while there, the joy I knew, the stories of God’s miraculous intervention and guidance. We chatted about the promises I felt I was given as I returned to the States and then we chatted about how every one of those promises was met with huge challenge and attack since my return.
I knew coming back that the truth and the promises would be challenged. I think that is part of the journey when we live into life change outside of our normal context. But, I didn’t know how incredibly difficult it was going to be. I’ve been home just over one week and each truth and each promise has been met with a counter attack that has cut me off at the knees.
Each promise or idea of the result of the promise has been attacked and has in many ways died. Death.
It brings such anxiety to humans. We, unlike the trees, worry and fret over death. Will it come back to life? Did God abandon me? Was I lied to? What will happen next? This summer a friend wrote to me that he and another friend were discussing the idea of God and his perspective over our life situations. He said something to the effect of, “Do you think God worries about tomorrows? Do you think He is up there concerned how it all will play out? Can you picture God pacing back and forth, riddled with worry over our life circumstances?” The picture is almost comical. God, the creator and sustainer of all things, worried over my life situation. Of course God is not worried, in fact, God is faithful and steadfast and purposeful. He sees all things and He deeply cares about us, about me, in the process.
God has seen how each felt promise has been met with death. He is not worried by such things, for death to God is an invitation to life. The tree knows that death is what will bring life, but somehow, I, maybe you too, see death and immediately are tempted to think God has failed us or are met with the idea that God has somehow gone back on his promise. As I’ve had truth challenged and promise fulfillment seemingly die, I am greeted with a choice to once again believe. Do I believe that God is good? Do I believe that God is not holding out of me? Do I believe that the death is actually an invitation to life? New life! And perchance… death is the first sign of life?
God is good. He will always be, this will never change. My belief in this increases every day in some significant way. Yes, this belief is challenged as difficulty, lies and death collide with life, but each time I am tempted to see only the death, I am met by grace that turns my head to Jesus and I’m once again reminded that it is in dying that I truly live.