For 363 days a year, I am a tree-lover. I enjoy their shade during the summertime heat and marvel at their colorful fall display. During thunderstorms, I witness their strength as they bend and sway anchored by deep roots. Trees improve my air quality and provide homes for a gazillion pesky squirrels and my beloved birds.
But two days at the end of November, I transform into a tree-whiner. As the hickory, maple, and oak leaves float to the ground, I moan and groan as I rake and rake.
Most of my anger is aimed at Ornery, the Oak. Ornery is the mightiest oak, the big man on campus. He refuses to play by the established yard rules. When it is time to battle the leaves, Ornery never cooperates. Towering above the rest, Ornery delights in keeping his brown leaves longer than any other tree. He prefers to wait until the first snow to release his lingering leaves. Every winter, Ornery’s brown leaves dot the white snow. Oh, Ornery is a stubborn oak.
What are the brown leaves in my life? Like Ornery, what do I stubbornly refuse to release? Fear, worry, and unforgiveness are some brown leaves I allow to linger. Unlike Ornery’s light-weight dried leaves, mine weigh heavily hindering my walk and my growth.
God encourages me to release my burdensome load into His care. He promises to gather my brown leaves and give me a fresh start like Ornery’s new buds in springtime. Let go of the dead, embrace the new.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
As December winds blow, I look up and see Ornery waving his brown leaves. I ask God for strength to let go of mine. Strength to trust deeper and forgive faster.
With my rake stored and snow shovel retrieved, I await the first snow. Ornery and I are ready to release our brown leaves.
Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime. ~Martin Luther