Monday, October 31, 2011

A Winter Storm Long Before Winter, A Hard Lesson on God's Timing


Once again, it is Halloween.  Last year I wrote on Halloween, but this year I am going to write on something even scarier.  I am going to write about real life.  This weekend, we learned another reason why God makes things the way that He does.  In particular, we learn another reason why trees lose their leaves in the winter time.  Right now, millions of people are without power and many trees lay in ruins because of a freak October snow storm.  Measurable snow in October is rare.  A major October snow storm is unheard of, at least until this past Saturday. 

When you combine high winds, wet sticking snow, and tree branches full of leaves for that snow to stick to, you get many downed branches.  When you get many downed branches, you get power lines being torn down, roofs being broken, cars being crushed, roads being closed, and in the worst of cases people getting killed.  If we had this kind of snow later in the year when the leaves are all off the trees, there would have not been nearly as much pressure on the trees and not nearly as much damage would have been done.  Trees lose their leaves for several important reasons, one is to protect the trees from damage and us from falling branches.  This weekend we saw what would happen if that natural protection was not in place.

For someone who loves trees, I often wondered why it was necessary for leaves to fall off of trees.  I enjoy fall foliage as much as anyone, but why does that even have to happen.  Why do certain trees need to go dormant.  I know that God can make tender leaves that can last even the harshest of colds (for example, my clumping bamboo plant, which keeps its soft green leaves all winder).  What is amazing is that trees that do keep leaves all winter where there is snow tend to have more flexible limbs allowing them to handle the weight much better than the trees that do lose their leaves.  So why do some trees lose their leaves?  Of course, my question is a little slanted because, to be honest, I absolutely hate to pick up leaves.  For those people who make a family fun day out of picking up leaves, I am happy for you.  I do not understand it, but I am glad you enjoy it.  Of course there are many reasons such as the dormancy phase protects the tree and provides natural mulch for the soil among other things.  It is beneficial for the tree for it to take that rest. 

This, of course, has meaning for our lives.  I do honestly believe that there are many lessons we can learn from nature and I think trees do teach us a lot.  You see there are times in our lives when we have to take a break from whatever we are doing to wait out hard times.  There are times when even when we are doing things God has told us to do (like move), that there is a time of dormancy in the process.  There are times when we want something from God, but God tells us to wait even though we feel we are ready at that time, for example, when praying for God to give you a child.  There are many times in our lives when God takes our leaves away, in a way, to prevent us from doing something that could be harmful to us.  Sometimes God gives us a dormancy in areas of our lives to protect us. 

What happened this weekend is a perfect example of what happens when we keep our leaves when God is telling is to go dormant.  If you are selling a home and it is not the right time, you may end up getting less money than you wanted or not having a place to go to when an offer comes in.  God said to wait it out, to pull your leaves, yet you kept them out and ended up getting hurt in the end.  Maybe God is telling you to pause your plans to move for a time.  Maybe God has not prepared the right house for you, or even the right job for you if He intends for you to stay where you are.  If you obey pull and in your leaves, then the plan God had for you will come to fruition when the waiting time is over.  If you do not obey and go ahead with things anyway, you may be left with a home and no job, a bad home, or miss a good job.  There is no telling how many things can go wrong!  As for a child, we must let God provide that in His time (and I am learning that right now).  Having a child outside the season dictated by God can also have its own consequences. 

The point I am making is that it is not enough to seek God's will for what He wants for our lives, but we must also seek His will for when He wants it. There is a season for everything, and when things happen outside their proscribed seasons, terrible consequences can occur.  I think God allows things to happen outside their normal seasons (like major snowstorms in October) to remind us of that fact.  So, please, practice patience and wait for God's timing in all those areas of your life that you want to move forward in.  Winter's dormancy never lasts forever and when it does end, we are heralded into better weather by one of the most beautiful times of the year when the world springs back to life.  It is a glorious time of new flowers, fresh leaves, chirping birds, and warmer weather.  Just as winter comes to an end with new life coming and old life growing once again, so will the winters of our lives.  Sometimes the wait seems long, but it is all in God's timing, and His timing is perfect.
To everything [there is] a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck [what is] planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV

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