I’m taking a few minutes to sit here on my porch, be still, and enjoy a beautiful evening. The day started out rainy and depressing and turned into the most gorgeous autumn day… There is this one big, old tree in my front yard that I love. Its leaves are just starting to turn yellow...and the little breeze that is blowing is slowly moving the old fashioned swing tied to the branch. It’s picture-perfect.
I’ve lived in this house for almost two years now and have seen the cycle of the seasons play out with this tree. Soon it will be bare, looking stark for the winter months. But once spring hits, new leaves will pop out and it will grace my view from this porch for another summer. The tree is strong and beautiful…I don’t worry about whether it will survive the harsh winter months. I know it’s just going to be dormant for a while and then burst into new life, growing in the process.
The seasons in nature are not unlike life in general. We endure seasons of death – whether it is the literal death of a loved one, the dying of an important relationship or loss in the form of a job or something equally as heartbreaking. There are many ways that we experience intense loss and change and it is painful. We enter into a time of autumn – a time of changing and transforming. Eventually the bleak, barren winter arrives. I remember when I lived up north and the winters felt unending. I wondered if it would ever be sunny or warm again or if winter would just go on forever.
One of my dear friends is going through a difficult time right now – experiencing painful changes in her marriage. It’s hard and emotionally draining and like a death of sorts. She is entering into a time of winter. I’ve experienced that pain myself, and wondered if it would ever end. I literally feel her pain and I know how truly difficult this is.
I read James 1:3-4 to her one night because it’s one of many verses that fit her situation perfectly. It says, “Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its worth so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” My friend must persevere – period. She really doesn’t have any other choice. But the amazing thing is that God promises that her perseverance will result in maturity if she allows it to mold her character and she holds on to him. I’ve seen this play out in so many lives and in my own as well. When I persevered through a couple of very difficult times emotionally, I emerged on the other side much stronger and more mature.
I know with complete confidence that God is working on her heart during this time of dormancy and barrenness. I’m already seeing it. I have every confidence in her to stand tall and strong after this season and there will be new growth and life that wasn’t there before. I hate that she’s experiencing this rainy dreary day, but look forward to seeing the beautiful future.