Over the past couple of Fridays, we have been looking at some lessons that God placed upon my heart when He recently brought us to a long-forgotten local conservation area. We saw how dangerous it can be to forget God’s blessings and miracles, and we saw how dangerous it can be to not be paying adequate attention to the many temptations that crisscross our paths through life. There was one more lesson God brought home to me as we walked those once familiar trails…
As I mentioned in the previous two parts of this series, it was the autumn time of the year, and everywhere we looked there was a backdrop of brilliant oranges, yellows, browns and greens. It was stunning to say the least; but it was late in the season, and about half of the leaves had already fallen to the ground. This created even more beauty, however, for the colourful foliage that had once clung to the trees now carpeted the ground, transforming it into magnificent rivers of oranges, browns, yellows and greens! It saddened me, however, to think about the fact that in another few days, all of the leaves would have fallen, leaving behind bare tree-branches that wouldn’t again sport leaves of any kind until after the colds of winter…
Why do trees have to lose their leaves in the winter, anyway? Wouldn’t their vibrant greens work to help chase away the winter blues? Are the winter blues there, in part, because of the bare trees?
Interestingly, God created the trees to lose their leaves in the fall for one very important reason: So that winter’s cold wouldn’t kill the trees!
Apparently the leaves don’t actually “fall” off the branches; rather, the trees actively “push” them off! The changes in weather and daylight trigger a hormone in the tree. This releases a chemical message to each leaf that it must prepare for winter. This creates “abscission cells” along the place where the leaf stem meets and branch, and slowly the leaf is “pushed” from the tree.
In the spring and summer, leaves convert sunlight into energy. This process, known as “photosynthesis”, uses a lot of water; and with the relative dryness of winter, the trees no longer have enough water to replace the what is used up during photosynthesis. Thus, the trees “push” off their leaves so that they can survive the winter and grow new leaves in the spring! *
The question often arises: Why does God allow us to go through bad circumstances?
I would propose that it is for the same reason God created the trees to “push” off their leaves in the autumn season! So that we will be able to survive!
We are told that trials teach us important lessons: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2 NIV); “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5 NIV). Thus, just like the trees shed their leaves in order to survive the winter, sometimes God allows us to go through trials so that we can develop skills required to survive what is ahead of us in life. And not just to survive, but to thrive.
Isaiah 57 sheds some different, but equally interesting light on the importance of trials. Though speaking specifically about death, the truth therein can be applied to any trial: “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.” (Isaiah 57:1 NIV). This verse tells us that sometimes we are permitted to go through trials so that we will be spared from evil!
Just like the tree pushes off its leaves and turns ugly in order to survive the winter, we are also permitted to go through trials so that we are spared evil, so that we can learn important skills that we will need in the future!
I think I will stop wishing away the autumn and winter months. Maybe I should stop wishing away the bad circumstances and trials as well!
This is the last lesson from the conservation area. If you have missed the previous lessons, you can access them by clicking here! God bless you as you grow closer to Him!
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries