The leaves are changing, they said way too early in August—and they were right. It started with a premature crimson splash here and there. But soon the green of summer was transitioning full speed to yellow, orange, brown and crimson of autumn. Fall was here.
It was a pleasant change, everyone agreed. While there’s some debate about summer and winter, almost everyone I know likes fall. No more sweltering heat. No more weeding the garden. No more mosquitoes. There’s apple cider, favorite sweaters, the way the air smells, fires that feel cozy again. We take slow drives down country roads to enjoy the daily-evolving color show. The piles we rake up in yards are better, in my kids’ opinion, than a MacDonald’s ball pit. We press the most gorgeous leaf specimens between book pages to treasure. What’s not to love?
Things are not quite so spectacular from the leaves’ point of view, though. They turn gorgeous colors, sure, and receive more admiration at this time of year than during any other season—but the reality is that their doom is imminent. As the crimson leaches down to their tips, their connection to their mother tree deteriorates and loosens.I drive down the road in a windstorm, and a rainbow of leaves swirls down from the sky like confetti. This is their fate. Magical to me, the end of life for them.
For them the change means letting go, falling, fading, shriveling, crumbling, crushing, eventually composting away into anonymity on the forest floor. It is perhaps not quite so pleasant described thus, because none of us like those kind of changes either. We all prefer the celebrating kinds, the weddings, new babies and job promotions. Anything to do with rotting? Not so much.
There are changes we seek, and changes we don’t. Sometimes we get to pick the form of change, sometimes we have absolutely no choice in the matter. Sometimes it comes sooner than we want, or much later than we’d longed for. Sometimes we embrace it, run to it in gladness or relief. Sometimes we fight it long and hard in vain. Sometimes changes are slow, over time, barely perceptible. Sometimes they are sudden and earth-shaking. Sometimes change is short-term. Sometimes it’s permanent.Elusive as change is to nail down, however, there’s one sure thing about it, and it’s that change is as inevitable to life as autumn is to the circle of seasons. It will come. And sometimes that’s a fearful thing to us humans who like to map out our yearly planners months in advance and make our tidy little five, ten and twenty-year plans for success. Even joyful changes can create stress by throwing off schedules.
That’s why serving a God who is unchanging is so incredibly wonderful and comforting. I can’t guarantee you whether the next change in your path is going to be hard or happy, but I’d like to remind you today that though all may change around you, you have a Friend who NEVER will—and that’s a promise.“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)