Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. Mark 11:22 (NLT)
My poor Yoshino cherry tree in the back yard hardly knows what to think.
(Ok, I realize it’s a stretch to assume a tree can think at all).
But, if I can speak for the tree, it’s odd that in the first part of November my tree has dropped all of its leaves with the exception of one branch – which is quite full of leaves; it also has a single, lonely blossom!
The poor tree has winter and summer all mixed up!
What if all nature was that confusing? What good would it do to purchase the latest Farmer’s Almanac, particularly if you can’t depend on its predictions? What sense would it make to plant in spring and not in winter? Everything would be so uncertain.
Well – weather conditions aside – I think my little cherry tree has a valuable life lesson for us today.
Winter (usually) is the picture of death – bare limbs producing nothing; grey skies producing hopelessly blue feelings. Spring is the promise of hope with life-giving rains, bud-blossoms and new growth. Summer is the time for full-flower – everything green and pretty; it’s the opposite of winter’s death.
And Now a Question for the Philosophically-Minded among us
Is winter, with its bleak grey skies, bare branches and snow-covered landscape always the picture of death? Or does it speak of anything else?
I think it depends on how far ahead you look – and if you have faith.
If, concerning the weather, you’re only looking to what winter will bring...well, you can count on cold temperatures, bare branches and planting cycles that vary. The sun will come up and spring will eventually come.
But, when it comes to life, death and the meaning of our existence – death precedes life; crosses always come before crowns. And the lesson of Elizabeth and Russell’s cherry tree is that, here, in the late fall, a blossom on a bare tree is exactly what the cross was in light of Sunday’s empty tomb. It is the harbinger – a promise of what is to come. Christ was the first fruits of resurrection harvest.
I’m an old guy, so I think of the nearing winter as my frame of reference – more time and history behind me than ahead. But that’s so limited. When I see that blossom on a bare branch, I have to think in eternal terms….life with Christ which never ends.
And it so makes sense; Christ, the King of Glory, would never have died for something so transitory as an earthly kingdom or a cure for cancer. He died to give meaning to the winter; He died to bring closure to the madness of death.
And He did it for us!
For You, Today…
When you look around at the leaves dropping and begin to anticipate those first delicate flakes of snow…or you begin to dread that first hard freeze, or ice storm that will take out your power for three days…remember, there’s a power at work that never dies.
Give Him glory; have faith in God!