by Pastor Jeanne Miller
Spring is a beautiful time of the year. I think of cherry blossoms, daffodils, tulips, and leaves on trees. A couple of weeks ago I was outside our home with Jonathan, my grandson, and we were having a very deep discussion concerning the seasons of the year. He wanted to know when the leaves would be coming back to the trees and I was trying to explain that in Spring the new vegetation comes. In Summer, school is out and everything is in bloom. Then in Autumn those leaves that came in Spring fall off of the trees and in Winter everything looks dead but it really isn’t because then Spring comes and it starts all over again. Jonathan was having a little trouble looking at the trees in their “dead” state and understanding that shortly from those oh-so-bare limbs would come forth the green leaves that make the trees so beautiful (and that provide him shade while playing outside).
Our conversation started me thinking. While some people look at January as the start of a new year, I would rather look at Spring as the beginning of a new year. Everything in nature that looked so dead comes back to life. Even in the deadness of Winter, there always remains life within the vegetation. We can’t see it but by faith we believe it’s there and that we will see this life appear once again as the seasons change.
I think it is very appropriate that Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension occurred during the Spring. This is what brought to us a new beginning, a new birth, life out of deadness and light out of darkness. Just as Spring brings beauty to nature just as God made it to do, our new spiritual birth brought a beauty to each of us that we could never have attained by ourselves or from any other avenue save the Lamb of God. Jesus said in John 10:10-11 “. . .I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance—to the full, till it overflows. I am the Good Shepherd. The good Shepherd risks and lays down his own life for the sheep.” I try to remember to thank God for His plan of salvation every single day and I thank Jesus that He was willing to lay down His life for me. I don’t ever want to take what Jesus did for granted because He truly gave me “beauty for ashes”.
In Hebrews 2:1-3 the Amplified Bible says, “Since all this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away. For if the message given through angels [that is, the Law spoken by them to Moses] was authentic and proved sure, and every violation and disobedience received an appropriate (just and adequate) penalty, how shall we escape [appropriate retribution] if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation [as is now offered to us, letting it drift past us forever]? For it was declared at first by the Lord [Himself], and it was confirmed to us and proved to be real and genuine by those who personally heard [Him speak].” I love the phrase “such a great salvation”. It truly is so great that it is hard for us to comprehend and live out all that our salvation encompasses.
During the Summer of our lives we should be applying ourselves to learning what this salvation is all about to its deepest meanings and then obeying and doing what we have learned as James writes in 1:22, “But—obey the message; be doers of the Word, and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].” Studying the Bible should be a part of our daily routine. We should be able to say with the Psalmist, “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” and “The entrance and unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding—discernment and comprehension—to the simple.” We should enjoy
fellowship with the Father and with one another and allow it to change and sharpen us.
Autumn in our spiritual life is when we have reached some level of maturity and the world can see what God has done in us, just as the leaves display such beauty in that season and catch our attention. Natural age shouldn’t have much to do with this phase of our spiritual life. Children who have been raised by parents who take God seriously are many times more mature than adults who have played around with being a Christian for years. It depends on the knowledge of the Word and the degree that a person yields to walking in that knowledge. It depends on the passion that we have for the things of God. Paul told Timothy in his youth “Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned, and confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.” It is a fight to stay untainted by the world and to keep our passion for the Lord.
Winter in my mind is when we make the transition from earth to heaven—whenever and however that my come. Though our earthly bodies may look dead and useless, that inner life which has sustained us during our life here (the spirit man) moves on to something far better. In fact Paul says far, far better. Philippians 1:21-23 “For me, to live is Christ—His life in me; and to die is gain—[the gain of the glory of eternity]. If, however, it is to be life in the flesh and I am to live on here, that means fruitful service for me; so I can say nothing as to my personal preference—I cannot choose, but I am hard pressed between the two. My yearning desire is to depart—to be free of this world, to set forth—and be with Christ, for that is far, far better”.
At this point in our lives if we have truly followed the Lord, there will be someone left behind who starts the cycle again of the new birth, or Spring, because of our lives lived on this earth. This is the greatest tribute we can give to God—that someone came to accept Jesus and walk in that great salvation because of the life we lived before them. I truly love Spring!