There are Falls, and then there are Falls

by DanWolgemuth on October 22, 2021

A snowless Fall has provided the perfect protection for a profound panorama of beauty. Splashes of color surround houses in our neighborhood. A full spectrum. An artist’s palette. It’s been stunning.

The crescendo of this Fall experience erupted in a spontaneous prayer a couple of days ago while on a walk. “Lord”, I implored, “please keep the leaves on the trees!”

No premeditation. No preparation. Just a visceral reaction to the beauty in front of me. A whisper. A plea.

Irrational. I know.

Impossible. Of course.

Childish. Absolutely.

But honest. Bare branches are no competition for the explosion of color. And so my heart spoke before my mind could reason.

Yet, even as the whisper hung in the air, I thought about what this prayer exposed, what it meant.

“Lord, can’t we skip Winter?”

“Lord, I love looking out our back windows and seeing trees full of leaves. Leaves that hide the view of my neighbor’s garage. Leaves that surround. Leaves that buffer.”

“Lord, I don’t want black and white when I can have technicolor.”

I’ve prayed this prayer before. Not about foliage, but about life. About my circumstances.

“Lord, keep it Fall.” “Lord, let’s just avoid Winter and go straight to Spring.”

Perhaps you’ve whispered the same. Subconsciously, but authentically.

Take comfort. This prayer. This whisper. This plea has precedent. With Jesus…

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

And from His three closest followers as they experienced a mountain top…

And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:4)

Take comfort. The longing of your heart and soul to stay in the midst of the beauty is not a sin. It’s homesickness for the Garden. It’s yearning for the permanence of Glory.

Yet, as I look at the collection of leaves in my yard this afternoon, I know that my whispered prayer was not answered. Not yet. Not now…

But soon.

Winter is coming. It always does. And as leaves surrender, so too my self-reliance, my self-absorption, my over confidence. Winter reminds me of my desperate state. Of my utter brokenness. Of a just, holy, gracious and merciful God.

As surely as the leaves that fall… Spring will come. Not in spite of Winter, but because of it. To remind me. To instruct me. To guide me. To inspire me.

Don’t ignore the whisper. Don’t shrink from it.

Indeed, the seasons escort us into the presence, permanence, and promise of God. Embrace the colors of Fall. Surrender to the lessons of Winter. Live with the confidence of Spring.

For now, there is no skipping Winter. The leaves in my yard remind me.

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