Fall | Dr. Dave DeKlavon


One of the things I enjoy most about living in the Louisville area is the change of seasons, and particularly the fall season that we are in now.

I was born in Pennsylvania, but my family moved to South Florida when I was 9 years old and I forgot a lot about the weather up north.  In South Florida, however, I knew first hand that we never experienced a “White Christmas.”  And, I used to kid that we experienced “Fall” on October 17th, when a palm frond would fall off the tree out front!

My wife Jan and I moved up to this area in August of the year I started as a student at Southern Seminary.  As the fall approached, it didn’t take long for images I had not thought about in years to come back.  Cooler weather, trees turning colors, leaves falling–I was in complete awe of this aspect of the beauty of God’s creation.

I remember thinking one day about these changes and relating them to the Christian life.  Three comparisons came to mind.

First, I remember thinking that the one factor that made the fall so beautiful was not the things that stayed the same but rather the things that changed.  All summer we had green leaves; now, they were changing into one beautiful color after another.  Our eyes were not drawn to the green leaves but rather to the leaves that had changed.  I realized that in the Christian life this is true as well.  What is it that lets people know God is at work in us?  It is not the things that stay the same but rather the things that change.  Now, many of us don’t like changes, and especially when those changes hurt.  Yet, as God uses the beauty of leaves that change color to indicate His power at work in nature, so also He uses the beauty of changed lives to indicate the same thing in us.

Second, all leaves don’t change color at the same time.  That is something I had forgotten.  One part of a tree will start to change and it is only over a period of time that the rest of the tree will follow.  This pattern reminds me of God’s promise to us that we will not experience more change at one time than we can bear.  Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t fix everything in our lives that needs changing all at once?  The changes occur gradually and in a way that we can handle.

And third, fall, of course, is followed by winter and then by the spring.  I often think of the starkness and barrenness of winter in terms of “death,” as the trees appear so lifeless.  But, the new life of spring reminds me of “resurrection,” as these trees seemingly come back to life again.  Obviously, nature cannot experience resurrection without death.  And neither can we.  Those places in our lives where the old habits and ways of life are dying will one day be resurrected in a way that will thrill us and bless others.

You know, all around us God gives us reminders of just how awesome and powerful He is.  Few times of the year illustrate this more than the fall.  As we enjoy the beauty of God’s nature in this season, let us remember also that what God is doing in nature He also wants to do in us.  He wants to produce life out of death and do it in such a way that people, through seeing what is happening in us, will be drawn to Him.

Dr. Dave DeKlavon is the Associate Dean for Academic Administration and Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Boyce College.