What Autumn Teaches Christians about Life, Death, and God

Liz Kanoy | Editor, Crosswalk.com | Monday, October 19, 2015
What Autumn Teaches Christians about Life, Death, and God

What Autumn Teaches Christians about Life, Death, and God


Autumn is my favorite season, though I don’t think I’d want it to go on forever. There’s something nostalgic about the scents of autumn, the foliage with rich changing colors, the foods and holidays, traditions like apple picking and leaf piles, and cooler weather after a hot summer. Joseph Rhea, director of ministries for Soma Church, has written an article for The Gospel Coalition reminding us of the promises of autumn, titled Autumn: Dying Beautifully.

Rhea calls Christians to remember these 3 things about autumn:

1. Autumn Refreshes Us with New Wonder
Spring brings its own beauty to the world, and it’s a relief to see green and new growth after a long, harsh winter. Then spring morphs into summer, and after a while green becomes the new normal. It’s not necessarily that we get tired of green, but in a way we get used to it. Rhea explains,

There’s nothing wrong with the leaves. It’s me: repetition inoculates me against wonder. Like G. K. Chesterton says, I don’t have God’s capacity to delight again and again at each new leaf. He keeps unfurling them—they even wave to get my attention!—but the eyes of my soul glaze over.”

In autumn, the creativity of God hollers. Look at these things! These paper-thin solar cells that convert sunlight into acorns! They’re everywhere, and they’re made by a God who, as N. D. Wilson reminds us, doesn’t know how to stop creating. Autumn reminds us that there’s a world of wonder.”

2.  Autumn Reminds Us of the Promise of Glory
In our culture, we see glory in youth and newness. Aging is looked upon with a wary and skeptic eye. “We are spring-and-summer,” people as Rhea comments. But we can learn from change; Rhea shares,

My parents’ leaves are starting to change. Their color is silver rather than red, but the glory is the same. They may not have quite the same speed on the Frisbee field. But they have wisdom and grace and decades of joy that shine in their faces. They’re taking on the beauty of autumn, showing dimensions of glory that my green summer-self doesn’t display.”

3.  Autumn Prepares Us for Winter’s Coming
Inevitably, autumn’s beauty and wonder fades into winter’s chilled silence. Autumn doesn’t stay; it fades and falls away just like the leaves on the trees. Rhea expounds, “Autumn reminds us that our leaves too will die. The curse we inherited from our father-tree Adam means we have our seasons and then we go. Winter takes us all.”

This is a sobering thought. Just like autumn, I will not last forever on this earth. Winter is a stark reminder that there is a price for the curse we were born under…but there is hope. Rhea tells us,

Autumn can draw our attention to the one man who broke through winter into an unending summer. The one who spent three days brown and dead in the dirt and came back in an indestructible green. The one who wasn’t just a leaf; he was a whole new tree.”

Winter comes to us all. But winter isn’t the end for Christians, because our lives are joined to a tree that winter cannot touch. Death has no sting; winter has no bite. We will fall from the tree of Adam; but we will flower again in a spring of eternal, glorious growth.”

It’s this truth, according to Rhea, that “gives us the hope to die beautifully.” When I die, I don’t want to be clinging to the edges of this earth, begging for one more tainted day. I want to die with grace falling back into the arms of my Savior, knowing that His beauty is greater than anything I could compare on this earth.

To read Joseph Rhea’s full article please visit The Gospel Coalition.

Crosswalk.com Contributor Dr. David Jeremiah shares this from his article, Reflections of Autumn (and its Lone Appearance in the Bible):

The seasons come and go, so focus on the God who remains unchanged and unchanging. “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:1-2).

"There’s a lot of unwelcome change in our world. Moral and societal changes bother us most when we turn on our television or glance at the magazines. …But amid all the changes, one thing, one person, never changes—our eternal God. “

“…His children will enjoy His fellowship a million years from now. The world may fade, the stars may fall, the seasons may change, and winter may come. But the God who has been our help in ages past is our hope for years to come. In Him we have permanence, stability, joy unshakable, and life unending.”

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Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com

Publication date: October 19, 2015