As I snuggled under the heavy quilt, I heard the wind howling and the rain beating a rhythm on the windows. Burying deeper under the covers, I was grateful for the cocoon of warmth and safety.
Early the next early morning, the sky was dark and intimidating, the whirling wind still persisting.
Peering out our front window, I noticed that the wind had whisked the leaves off the trees and they were now scattered over the front yard, spilling onto the sidewalk. And leaves were twirling and spinning and dancing down the front street.
But I noticed some lonely stragglers still clinging tightly to the branches of the tree just outside our front window. A few leaves, boisterously flapping and bobbing, dipping and waving, but still resisting the wind. Refusing to let go.
As I observed these last, lonely leaves, I got to thinking about their tenacity. How though storms had waged war, winds had cajoled, and other leaves had abandoned their posts, they had remained. Stubbornly clinging to the branches.
Intuitively understanding that should they separate from the tree, they would become disconnected from their nourishment, and source of life.
Grasping that they cannot flourish unless they remain connected. So remaining persistent and steadfast, resisting the elements, they stick to that which sustains and brings life.
I thought of how we can be like these leaves. Where we too can be greatly tested. When exterior events and trials and pressures can cause us to feel like we are being tossed this way. And then blown another way. Pushing us upside down, and topsy-turvy.
Where pressures and trials can be so fierce, threatening to detach us from our source of life, and our Living Water. Where we too can struggle to hold on to that which ultimately sustains us.
And if our grasp loosens, we loose our focus, becoming separated from Christ, we will also struggle to thrive and flourish. Becoming unable to produce fruit. Eventually becoming deadwood.
For as Jesus explained,
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.” (John 15:4-6, The Message)
His description gives me hope. For I am confident that as long as we remain as unyielding as these leaves, holding tightly to our Vine, we will be sustained.
Continuing to find nourishment. Able to bear fruit. Even when we are confronted by the longest drought or the harshest winter season.
“But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season. (Jeremiah 17:8, The Message)
Photo credit: Autumn Mott, from Unsplash