Fall is a time of colorful leaves and crisp, invigorating air. It is very uplifting. That is if you can forget it’s the precursor to winter.
The sunlight highlights the brilliant colors of red and gold that fill the trees and carpet the ground. Interestingly, these leaves spend most of their life as lush green foliage, but in the fall they display their true colors. They are telling the world, the chlorophyll produced green was lovely in its own way, but this is the real me.
IS GOD SENDING A MESSAGE: DEATH IS BEAUTIFUL
Amid all fall’s beauty, everything is dying. So, why is it so picturesque? Why do we feel so alive? Is God saying death is beautiful? That it is the beginning of life, not the end.
Watching the leaves fall gracefully to their death, reminds me of the grace and beauty of Mom’s last days. Just as I know that each falling leaf takes us closer to the long and cold winter ahead, each labored breath took my mother closer to death.
It was a day in June when my son and I watched life depart from my mother’s body. As death drew closer, her real colors showed through too. Her thoughts were not of this world, but on spiritual matters, and it forced our thoughts to drift from the mundane and focus on the divine. As she prepared to meet her Maker, it was evident what was important.
Weak and unable to open her eyes, she reclined in her favorite chair, her plea was urgent; tell a person in her life that she forgave him. After being reassured, she told us she was going to Jesus and that is was a joyous place. Usually fearful of travel, this trip was a delight.
When I told her to go and we would catch her later, she smiled and said, “I know you will, and I will be waiting for you.” Typical of my mother, her last words offered comfort and one final life lesson: don’t fear the fall or death. God saves us from the fall and lifts us to a place of beauty. Prepare for a joyful reunion.
SO WHY IS DEATH HARD?
Of course, not everyone’s death is peaceful. Prolonged and painful dying experiences are a reality. When we lose a loved one or walk beside a person struggling during their dying days, months, even years, it is easy to see death as a dark and scary; but it’s not for believers.
While dying can be a difficult time, death is beautiful for Christ-followers. I believe the above picture is real. Just as the tree releases the leaf to begin a new cycle of life, the angel waits for this fallen world to free us to a new and perfect life with Jesus.
“…and the day of death better than the day of birth” (Ecclesiastes 7:1b NIV). Solomon was right. Our first birth brings us into a fallen world where death is the victor, however, the irony is that death leads us to a restored world with no pain or sorrow.
EARTH IS OUR HOME NOW AND FOR ETERNITY
At birth, our earthly life begins and God sustains our existence, but eventually, the fall of our life approaches and our bodies begin to shut down. Death returns us to our Creator in the present (intermediate) heaven. Although this is a wonderful place, it’s temporary.
Just like the leaf, our journey begins and ends in the same place – earth. Unlike the leaf, the place where we spend eternity is the restored earth, a beautiful, perfect place, where believers experience the original plan before the fall of man.
So let the beauty of this fall season remind us of Paul’s message to the Corinthians: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting” (1 Corinthians 15:55 NLT)?
Click here for some inspirational quotes about death from a Christian perspective – or should I say the truth?
THIS MONTH’S WORKOUT SERVICE PROJECT
Since this article is September’s workout blog post, I always include a service project. Why not contact a Hospice? They are looking for volunteers to help caretakers. Give caretakers a break to relax or go grocery shopping!
If you don’t know what our workouts are about click here for information and to check out past workouts in 2019.
As always I encourage comments. Perhaps an experience you had when making the last leg of this world’s journey with a loved one.