Featuring Branon Dempsey Posted on November 19, 2008
Fall is my favorite time of the year. There’s something sweet about the colors of amber, mahogany, deep red and orange. There’s something refreshing about the cool wind and the crackling of leaves under your feet. Toasty fires, mocha coffee and a harvest moon seems to kindle my heart. Over the weekend, my wife and I went back to our favorite old town square. The streets are lined with antique black lampposts among old maple and oak trees. Early century small shop houses invite you for a visit and some window shopping. The brisk weather rustled through the leaves with the sounds of horse drawn carriages and the laughter of children.
I asked my wife, “Why do we enjoy the fall?” She replied, “The fall brings change as well as memories.” In amazement, I thought of how all the colors, smells and sounds appealed to my senses. Each association was coupled by a fond memory. Jumping into a pile of leaves with my friends, fireside. If you can’t tell already, I love trees, particularly the branches and leaves. For me, the changing colors, shapes and sizes remind me of life. Leaves indicate the changing of time. Leaves also provide shelter, food, gardening and are a resource for other uses. I love the way leaves provide scenery: sunrises and sunsets, on top of mountains, through the river, along-side of oceans and even in the desert (well, at least there’s cactus). All of these environments bring a palate of inspirations and responses.
I was amazed in connecting the dots between memories and events stemmed by one season. There were good memories as well as bad. Some days were my most difficult struggles, while others brought unspeakable joy. Each memory was tied to a relationship and/or person. Each thought was a reminder of how things change, like the passing of time seen from the leaves of trees.
Change is not easy for some, while it is embraced by others. However, there are things in life, where we do not want to see change. Sometimes, we want to hang on to the moment and hope of its eternity. Letting go can be so hard, even when we can’t understand the winds of change. Looking down can feel so lonely, that you can’t even see through the trees. Trying to figure out our direction, where to go and what to do, can be like waiting for spring in the midst of winter. All in all, things must change.
Jesus says "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-4.
The act of cutting and pruning of the branches is painful. Change involves the removal of old to bring forth new. He is not only our Father but our Gardener. Like a caretaker of crops, He know exactly how and where to prune in places we cannot see or know. He knows the right tools to use and the right time. He also knows what kind and how much pressure to use. All the while, He is cleaning, purifying and gently caring for us. He knows how much pain we can bear and how much we cannot. Like the falling of leaves and the passing of branches, we witness the results of His pruning. Our comfort lies in how and what He is saving us from. At this point, our faith really is the evidence of things unseen. Think about how ginormous and frightening our problems would be if we can see all that God sees. “But God, can’t I have just a peek?!” Then the Lord whispers, “No, my child, because I know what is best for you,” It’s funny how a silent whisper can speak so clearly. God has to pass over us first before we can see what He is doing. Think about how God showed his glory to Moses. God had to pass by him first. Even when God passed, Moses could only see the backside of Him, and even this was more than enough.
Our God, Father, Gardener and Gentle Shepherd, knows our needs even before we ask (Psalm 139:4; Matthew 6:32b). We can take comfort in the passing of change through the seasons. May we be forever plugged into His vine to feed on his faithfulness (Read Psalm. 37:1-11). As you go through this fall of whatever change you are facing, hold on to the good memories, the good colors and the good that fills your senses. Let go of what is falling and passing. Our bodies are just a shell. May the comfort we find in this season be used to comfort others who maybe falling. The Lord breathes new life again into our souls. He refreshes our branches as a good Gardener. He desires to see us reap a harvest of righteousness - to never give up.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” - Galatians 6:9