Faith

Stripped of Our Leaves

The other day my husband and I were driving up from Tuscaloosa on I-59 North. In the Winter I always see houses I never thought were there along the highway because all of the many trees are now stripped of their leaves. I wonder if the people in those houses wish for Spring and Summer to come quickly. During those Seasons the trees sprout new leaves building a natural wall between those houses and the highway. The trees act as a sound barrier from the constant traffic and give people living in those homes some privacy. We made the curve and merged onto I-24 East heading into Chattanooga. I looked out of my car window and there situated alongside a hill were a couple of old mobile homes. There was junk everywhere lying on the ground around those homes. I thought to myself, “Now how in the world can people live with all that junk for the world to see?” In the Summer months when the trees are full of leaves, passersby probably couldn’t see what was lying about all over that hill, but now in the Winter with no leaves to hide it, there was a bunch of junk and trash just in your face right next to the highway.

God created the Four Seasons on this earth just as He creates Seasons in our lives. He does this for every single one of us, every one. There are Seasons where we just walk through life thinking everything is fine and dandy. We may have it all, we may be successful at what we are doing. Our “leaves” are nice and full, but our walk with God isn’t going right. Maybe you are someone that doesn’t even know God or have a personal relationship with Him. God wants the best for us and He wants us to live our best life for Him because we were all lovingly created by Him. When we who believe or don’t believe in Him become too full of ourselves like the leaves on the trees, He leads us into a Wintry Season to wake us up. As He does to the leaves on the trees in Winter, He strips us and bares our trash. Sometimes our trash is bared to the world for all to see. Sometimes He bares it privately and makes us look into the mirror at ourselves and the life we are living, letting us see we need to change, we need Him.

Human beings think things and act on things we shouldn’t. We have the attitude that no one else knows our thoughts or actions, so it’s okay. Sometimes we don’t even worry about God knowing what we are doing. One day we will all face Him and be judged. God will strip us of our “leaves” for the last time and show us what our lives were and how or if we lived for Him. All that trash we thought or hoped no one could see will be revealed. That’s going to be a tough day for a lot of people.

I truly want to be pleasing to God, but I know I fail Him daily. I also know that He gave His Son Jesus to save me from the trash of sin, if only I believe in Him. When God brings me into a Season that strips me of those selfish, sinful “leaves” to show me that I need to get rid of some of the junk in my life, He brings me back to Him.

Love, M

And have you quite forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to You, his child? He said, “My son, don’t be angry when the Lord punishes you. Don’t be discouraged when He has to show you where you are wrong. For when He punishes you, it proves that He loves you. When He whips you, it proves you are really His child.”

Let God train you, for He is doing what any loving father does for his children. Whoever heard of a son who was never corrected? If God doesn’t punish you when you need it, as other fathers punish their sons, then it means that you aren’t really God’s son at all—that you don’t really belong in His family. Since we respect our fathers here on earth, though they punish us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to God’s training so that we can begin really to live?

10 Our earthly fathers trained us for a few brief years, doing the best for us that they knew how, but God’s correction is always right and for our best good, that we may share His holiness. 11 Being punished isn’t enjoyable while it is happening—it hurts! But afterwards we can see the result, a quiet growth in grace and character.—Hebrews 12:5-11

11 And I saw a great white throne and the One who sat upon it, from whose face the earth and sky fled away, but they found no place to hide.[a] 12 I saw the dead, great and small, standing before God; and The Books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to the things written in The Books, each according to the deeds he had done.—Revelation 20:11-12

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