The first chill breeze came as a shock. It reminded me of last year, when everything of worth I possessed had been stripped away.
But that was last year… surely I wouldn’t have to go through that again!
Everything had been put back to rights. Not only were my green leaves restored; I also bore fruit. The Gardener Himself came and gathered the entire crop. Yes, He did have to separate the good ones from the wormy ones, and He did tell me I needed to keep a better watch on the crop next time… but over all it seemed to be successful harvest and my pretty leaves remained where they belonged.
Life was good, especially now that I wasn’t burdened down with fruit. I thought that the warm, sunshiny days of summer would last forever.
But here I was: powerless, watching as dark grey clouds loomed overhead.
Surely all my troubles would be over by this time. Surely I was supposed to continue bearing fruit, not be subjected to the blustering wind. No one could take away my beautiful green leaves….
My limbs quivered in the growing cold.
I peered around at the trees nearby. The bright green of their leaves was quickly turning into a pale yellow.
When I looked up at my own leaves, panic filled me. They were turning yellow, too!
I felt a powerful gust of wind whoosh through the entire forest. My leaves rustled. I could tell that their grip was weakening.
No! It isn’t happening to me! I won’t let them go!
Why did He clothe me with beauty during spring and summer, only to strip me bare again?
I hadn’t done anything wrong… had I?
My conscience was clear… except, well, maybe I had been a bit too proud of how good my leaves looked in the sunlight. And yes – I had to admit – I had sometimes forgotten that all the credit truly belonged to the Gardener, not to the tree.
But that didn’t justify this treatment!
I had held onto the Psalm which said:
“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
“He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.”¹
My leaves weren’t supposed to wither! And if they fell down, they would certainly start withering straight away.
I braced myself as another gust of wind hammered me. My branches swayed and creaked.
To my dismay, multitudes of yellow leaves belonging to the neighbouring trees went swirling through the air, driven by the relentless current.
“It’s your turn now,” said the Gardener gently. “It’s time to let go of the old season.”
“But, I thought–”
“I know how much you treasured that season of your life… but you will never grow unless you endure the good and the bad.
“Do you know where the wind is taking your leaves?”
“I have a storehouse where your leaves are kept, never to wither, never to fade away. One day you will see them again, but for now… trust Me and persevere during this season. ‘While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’² I have new leaves and new fruit for you bear, but you must endure first.”
His voice calmed and reassured me. I should have known I could trust Him to keep His promises.
Without even looking, I knew all my leaves were gone.
¹ Psalm 1:1-4, ² Genesis 8:22
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