As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest,
cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.
Genesis 8:22 NLT
The leaves fell, and I knew there were some things I needed to let fall as well.
During one autumn week, the wind blew and the leaves descended in droves from the trees. I watched maple trees filled with pulsating red leaves allow them to tumble to the ground.
As my feet trudged through the mounded leaves, I thought of the above verse. What God had promised was happening. But just as surely as the trees turned loose their leaves, I too had to free my life of things that have a habit of hanging on if I were going to enjoy God’s best.
Bitterness was one leaf I had to let fall. Reasons for bitterness—against others, God, or both—can be numerous. Perhaps the trials of life have gotten me down, and I begin to wonder whether or not there really is a God who cares. Maybe relationships or jobs have ended unexpectedly. When bitterness hangs on, life is miserable.
Unfair decisions are another leaf. These are made by others but affect me. The decision to end a job, a relationship, a contract, or even a life. I can’t control unfair decisions made by others. The feeling of being powerless leads to despair and can easily usher in hopelessness—and its bedfellow depression.
Past hurts can hang like unfallen autumn leaves. Life is filled with them. I can hurt others intentionally and unintentionally, and others can hurt me. Hurts…well, hurt. They put a damper on life. Wishing they could be undone only leads to further misery.
Unforgiveness is like the stubborn leaf that refuses to fall. Hurts must be forgiven, or bitterness and a life of misery will follow.
Physical pain is also an unwelcome leaf. Especially when doctors can’t find the cause, when medicine isn’t doing the trick, or when my prayers for God’s healing don’t bring relief.
While I may have no control over physical pain or other’s unfair decisions that hurt me, I can avoid the leaves of bitterness and unforgiveness. What’s in the past is in the past and should stay there. Reliving it or using it as an excuse for present unwise behavior keeps the leaf from falling where it can do what God designed it to do.
Let the unhealthy leaves fall from your life tree, and enjoy the life God gives you to live.