We Shall Have Spring Again
Fall is deepening, and the hostas in our newly refinished planter boxes are now fully wilted. In fact, they’re downright slimy, and they make a heavy schlop sound as they hit the bottom of my debris bucket. Even with gloves on, I wrinkle my nose at the feel, and I marvel at how quickly these lush plants have decayed into mush.
I have a similar feeling as I observe scenes of decay in our country. There were two new shopping carts in the flower beds this morning, and I round them up like stray cows. I was grateful they were relatively empty this time, so I can easily return these strays to their corral on my way home. But the increasing activity of our homeless population is just one of many symptoms of the overall decline of our society, causing intense distress in our hospitals, schools, law enforcement agencies, restaurants, businesses and neighborhoods. The overall scene is increasingly ugly and depressing.
Having cleaned out the dead foliage, I covered the dirt with buckets of autumn gold dropped by the Japanese Maple standing vigil nearby. The leaves this year were so vibrant in their dying glory the tree seemed to glow. They look nice right now, but the beauty of these leaves is fading, and before long they will shrivel and brown in their wooden casket. But as they die, they will hinder the growth of weeds and give nourishment to the soil. God will not waste their death.
These fall leaves are an apt metaphor for followers of Jesus. Our lives are short lived, all things considered, and our beauty quickly fades. But God drops us into this decaying world, so that we might shine with the beauty of our Maker and help hold back the spread of toxic weeds in communities. And even as we slowly die, we will leave behind a testimony to the goodness and grace of God that will have its intended effect in God’s unstoppable plan to bring renewal to this dark world.
The planter boxes will lay dormant and lifeless for several months. Then suddenly, the spikes of new shoots will poke through the dead leaves. Hostas are so vigorous you can almost see them growing, and it is incredible how quickly it moves from bare dirt to full foliage. Where once there was only death and decay there will be life and beauty to gladden the hearts of everyone who walks by.
So pray, little leaves, for the new life God is bringing. He lets us help, you know. By our serving, praying and even dying, we are included in his grand work. Pray for our Mexico Mission Team as they serve God this week in Hualahuises. Pray for Elijah Francis and his fellow pastors as they risk their lives serving the Lord in India. Pray for yourself as you seek to redeem the little bit of time God has granted you in this dark world.
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.
C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe