“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
If you observe the woods right now, you will see everything slowly turning to shades of cream, gray, brown, and black. It is as if the winter colors of the deer have descended upon the world. Its solemnity pulls at my heart as the cold chills my face. I’ve never been a fan of winter. The burst of glorious color of autumn has fallen to the ground, and now I must wait while the season progresses until a whisper of spring tinges the air. But inherent in that waiting is — life. And in that life, there is a message for us.
There is a remedy silently stirring in this season when death appears to have taken captive the green abundance of summer. Our Lord is not only the creator but also the regenerator. The cycle of the seasons reflects this regenerative spirit. Every year the earth passes through seasons of birth, growth, flourishing, and death. And it will continue to do so until the day He brings a new heaven and earth where death has no place.
We know that a seed must fall to the ground and die before it can become a flower. An acorn that stays an acorn doesn’t become an oak. It is transformed into an oak tree when it is no longer an acorn. In the same way, we must die to our sinful nature and be transformed into His likeness. While we see the loss of lush green fields and a forest of leaves, underneath the cold and gray exterior, life is preparing to be reborn, just like us.
All of nature reflects the design, character, and artistry of God. He created it so that we who are sentient beings have a constant reminder of His presence. It says in Romans that we are without excuse for knowing Him because what He displays around us declares it openly, freely, and loudly every day. Part of what I think He wants us to see around us is Grace — the cure for the results of a sinful world.
There are several definitions of grace, but here are two to contemplate. Grace is receiving something you don’t deserve — salvation. Sometimes it’s spoken of as unmerited favor because it cannot be earned by anyone or any amount of good works. Scripture says that “the wages of sin is death.” Finances, marriages, relationships, economies, and governments are all subject to sin because they involve inherently sinful people. The only cure is a regenerated heart and spirit, which acknowledges the need for a savior. That scripture concludes by saying, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”* That gift came while we were still sinners, deserving death — the wages of sin. The fact that the Lord sent His Son to save us is grace.
So where do we go from the death of summer that we love to the dark, cold days of winter? We go to His solution: grace that leads to salvation. Just as the seeds of spring lie silently still in the woodland until spring, so your salvation lies waiting for you. Every tree and plant arrives at spring at a specific time, so you, too, are on a schedule. The Lord already knows if and when you will give your life to Him. He knew that before you were born. That is the miracle of it all. He set eternity in your heart, but you must grasp it. Then once you realize this promise and take Him as Lord and Savior, spring and summer live forever within you. Death no longer has the victory. Regardless of how the world appears now, gray and bleak, inside is a wellspring of life.
So, as you gaze around you and see the season change, know that beneath the surface of the forest floor, within the trees that stand starkly in the winter light, new life is preparing to break out. Always and forever. Once the Lord has placed Holy Spirit within you, there is new life within you regardless of your circumstances. The world cannot take it from you. There is always a wellspring within you, ready to bubble up, flourish and refresh.
Have you received Christ in your life? Are you walking in the forest brimming with spiritual birth? Or are you walking in the winter of your soul looking for something in the world that will fulfill you? Step into the waiting arms of Christ. He has the fullness of grace, love, and salvation waiting for you.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Romans 1:20 NIV
*Romans 6:23 NIV