As Spring begins to emerge in the landscape, we quickly find ourselves forgetting the barrenness of winter. Gone are the bone-chilling days, the bare trees, the brittle grass, the harsh ice. Now, new life springs forth in tiny buds of hope and the brush of warmth. It seems the Master Painter has dipped his brush and brightened our world with light, sapphire, emerald, and violet.
We all breathe a sigh of relief as we pull out lawn furniture, grills, and lawnmowers and begin the tedious job of sweeping away the dead leaves and grass. Our children romp and play as if in a whole new world.
How quickly we forget the barrenness of winter.
And so it is in life.
The good times lull us so that we are stunned and stagger when a storm comes our way. We become shaken when the ice and bitter cold strip us of dignity. Our branches hang low with the heavy weight of desolation.
But we also forget that spring can only come after winter has had her way.
The stripping away of the old allows the new life to bud in greater splendor. The stripping away of our pride allows a purity of spirit to develop and grow.
The death of the old limbs that would cause disease allows growth in the tree in a new season. The death of bitterness allows pure, godly love to grow in our hearts.
The letting go of the fall leaves allows precious nutrients to feed the root system so that brand new leaves can come forth. The letting go of our will allows His will to be accomplished for His glory.
1 Peter 1:6-7: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Job 23:10: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
This tree just over our fence is usually a lush, gorgeous grapefruit tree.
Until a couple of weeks ago.
The hard freeze that hit Texas turned the leaves brittle and brown.
The grapefruit began hitting the ground with solid thuds. Limbs that were once plush with rich, green leaves now gaze forlornly at the sky.
But last week my mother-in-law and I both commented how gorgeous this tree looked with the sunset framing it.
A sweet treasure.
And proof that sometimes death brings a beauty that we can’t imagine.