We are now in the full throes of fall, even down here in North Florida. The days are shorter and the nights are longer, the oppressive heat has ended and the chilly nights and warm, but not hot afternoons are here and we even smell the smoke of fireplaces in the evening in the area. God knew what he was doing when he gave us the seasons, for each one plays a specific part in the cycle of life and the changing of the seasons gives us a good parallel to our own human lifespan on earth. We go through the seasons of life within ourselves and the fall represents one of those special phases that make life so beautiful in what is expected of us.
By the time we reach the fall of our lives, we have already experienced many wonderful things. From the miracle of birth to and through the development years, we grew from a helpless infant into a young man or woman ready to go out on our own and do for ourselves. Then in the summer of our lives, we get a job, develop it into a career and work to master it. While ongoing, our lives also change with marriage, children and the responsibilities that come with being good parents, good citizens and people of God. Oh, we falter as we go but we learn from our mistakes and do our best to correct them, and we continue to grow in stature. For those of us who don't, and there are plenty, it's still not too late if we eventually understand our purpose in life, and if we do, we make wonderful changes to ourselves.
Next, we go into the advanced stage of life where we take the experiences, the joys, heartbreaks and all else that comes along the way and become much wiser about life. We use that wisdom to help others see the way as well and we find ourselves able to finally understand what life is all about and to rejoice in it. It's a time when we begin to slow down physically, yet our mind is still strong and capable of offering so much to others who are open to learning, but regardless of that outcome, we remember and savor all of those things that got us through by the grace of God. This stage lasts until we enter the winter of our life which can be sad and perplexing since with it often comes infirmity and suffering from ailments as the body breaks down. But we know, however, that if we have mastered things previous to it, the suffering gives us perseverance to finish out our lives guided by the faith which will eventually set us free. It will do so with the death of earthly life and its replacement with a new and perfect life, life without suffering, pain or wants, which will spring eternal.
Can you see the parallel to the seasons of the year? Can you also see the eternity question paralleled from the view of the perennial flower that grows, becomes beautiful, withers and dies only to come back again and again and again? In the case of the human life, it only requires the rebirth once through faith in our Lord, and even though it will take effect within us when we accept Him as our Savior, the overarching benefits of eternity will be the new result when earthly life ends. And that should be a comfort to us all, for like the gift of the seasons which God so graciously gave us, the eternity of everlasting life comes when we accept and believe the reality of His Son, who died to give us that gift forever.
Dear Lord, We thank you for the beauty of the seasons and for the gift of eternity that we are offered if we follow Christ Jesus when our seasons of life on this earth are done. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.