Fall offers lessons in life

by Mark McDonald

Fall is my favorite season.

Some of the reasons are obvious. The cooler temperatures are a relief from the high heat of summer. It’s more fun to watch high school football with a jacket. Ticks and chiggers go away, and that makes it much more fun to be in the woods. The leaves change colors, and the fall foliage is nature’s living art show. And my favorite part is when the leaves began to fall and open our eyes to beauty that has been masked from view through the spring and summer seasons.  

I love how the 501 has four distinct seasons. The winter reminds us of rest with less daylight and the encouragement to sleep a little longer. Spring reminds us of resurrections, as we watch dormancy overcome with new life. Summer reminds us of God’s provisions with the abundance of agriculture and livestock.  


Fall is even more profound because it’s meaning for life is somewhat hidden. As the leaves change color, we know they are dying, and in their last hours, they show some of their most brilliant colors. While the darkness begins to lengthen, it also helps us appreciate the light even when it isn’t as long as we’d like. And when the leaves finally fall, we can see more than we’d seen before.  

In a way, it contains the most profound lesson of life.

When we struggle with the end of our life and things begin to change like the leaves, we begin to appreciate the many colors of our relationships. We start to realize what we should have always realized: Our relationships are much more important than our jobs and our possessions. We spend most of our lives worried about things that are ultimately temporary, and begin to realize that our relationships are the most consistent, beautiful and rewarding parts of our lives.

When things seem to be darker, it is then that we appreciate how we need to rest and renew so we can better enjoy the lighter moments of life. We go through darkness frequently (i.e., daily), but always trust that the morning will come. Fall teaches us that sometimes the darkness lasts longer, but we always hold onto the light.  

Finally, when life as we know it seems to have fallen all the way to the ground (like the leaves), it is then we can look up and see how much more there is than we normally see. We see past the temporary life that surrounds us every day, through the jungles that we live in, to the breadth, depth and height of creation.  

When we put this all together — that relationships are the most important parts of our life — we can see through the darkness to the light; and even in nature, we can see that life is far greater than what we see in a single season. We begin to see the promises that God reveals in each season. No single season can tell the whole story, but fall helps us understand these amazing truths.  

As you watch the leaves change color, notice that the nights grow a little longer. Watch the leaves fall to the ground and remember what Paul wrote to the church:

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? . . . I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31, 38-39 NLT).