Are You Shedding Your Leaves?
Written by Keith Pittman
It’s never a problem to look around to see God’s handiwork in every corner of the world. But I always seem to see it gleaming most brightly when fall comes around. The radiant colors we are so fortunate to have each year at this time are nothing less than pictures of God’s autumn masterpiece brilliantly painted to remind us how perfect His creation is.
I had always thought that the beautiful fall leaves just eventually died in the cooler weather and then, in their final frailness, were simply blown off the limbs by the wind. But the other day I heard a scientist explain that there is much more to it than that. There is actually a perfect plan at work each time a leaf falls from the tree. In fact, the whole process is originated by an unobservable force working from inside the tree, not by the cold or the wind or any external force, per se. As the weather gets cooler and the night hours get a little longer, a hormone is triggered that causes the formation of cells where the branch and leaf stem meet. Interestingly enough, these cells are called “abscission cells.” If that sounds a lot like scissors, it’s because that’s exactly the function they serve.
Imagine, if you will, little microscopic scissors tearing into the stem and purging it at just the right time. It’s something the naked eye will never see, yet it’s the tree’s natural way of sustaining a healthy life. The scientist went on to say that leaves are responsible for making the food that ensures the healthy growth of the tree during the spring, summer and early fall. But during the winter, if the leaves were to stick around, the water inside would actually freeze up and cut off that food supply, ultimately killing the tree. So, thanks to the cell division going on inside, the tree purges itself of the leaves for the approaching winter and allows new ones to grow in the spring. That’s how it stays healthy and alive.
I got to thinking about how God operates that way in our life. In little microscopic ways that we may never even know, God is constantly working in our lives for our ultimate good even when we can’t see the most minute details of the operation. When a tree gets ready to shed its leaves, the abscission cells are busily doing their work to make sure that future life is sustained in the tree. But all we see are the beautiful colors that are the backdrop of the brilliant masterpiece of autumn. We can’t see the inconspicuous process that goes into the change. Likewise, we don’t often see the subtle work of God going on in the tiniest of details in our own lives. And if we wait on God to do is handiwork in us, once His microscopic scissors are finished with their work, we are a beautiful product that is even more prepared to weather whatever is ahead.
Just like we can’t see those abscission cells at work in the tree, causing the beautiful fall colors and ultimately the falling leaves that are necessary to protect the tree during winter, we can’t always see God in everything at the moment it happens. But when we look back, we see His handiwork all over the result. He was there all along, working in our lives to accomplish His perfect will. As Romans 8:28 (NIV) clearly tells us, “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Is God quietly severing something from your life to accomplish some greater purpose of which you may not even be aware?
Behind the beautiful leaves that may be showing in your life, is God preparing you for the winter that lies ahead, already putting His protective plan in place?
Has God blessed you unexpectedly so you can, in turn, be a blessing to someone later that you may not even be aware of today?
Are the experiences you are having today – good or bad – examples of God quietly working behind the scenes of your life so that you ultimately will be everything He desires you to be?
Philippians 2:13 (NIV) says, “…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” As you watch the changing of the leaves in your own life, stop to think about how God has orchestrated the process from the very beginning and think about what His plan and purpose is for that in your life.