As I look at the burned corn stalks and the withered bean fields I have also had to take note of the falling leaves. In fact it seems like the foreshadowing of autumn is here already. There is a place near our house which we call “Big Muddy” and it has been the home of countless turtles, fish, frogs, toads and the watering hole of countless other critters. But for the first time in the sixteen years that we have lived here Big Muddy is all dried up. The critters have fled. Fields have died and the life is gone and those that remain suffer from want. But then I see leaves swirl to the ground in peaceful beauty. It is as if they promise something beyond this moment. A rest from the heat. A refreshment after the drought.
It surely seems too obvious that this summer will end and that a new season will come to replace this time of trial but I have to wonder – why the trial in the first place? Why drought and burning heat? Why death and the destruction of a what could have been good fields full of healthy food? And then I think about the fact that I did not create the field or the ponds or the critters. Farmers plant and tend crops and harvest the results but who really CREATES? All these good things that perished were God’s first. So why didn’t He save them?
It seems that as long as we exist we must face the reality of plenty and want, of success and failure, of construction and destruction. And we have a choice in how we participate. We participate in the destruction of life when we vote for officials who support abortion. Or when we actually abort the life God conceived in us. We participate in destruction when we misuse our good earth. We participate in destruction when we ignore the emotional and spiritual needs of our children so that we can do “other things”. We participate in destruction when we hate, when we are selfish, when we are greedy, when we ignore the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters….And yet all good things were created by God and He must suffer their destruction even more than we do for He sees what we do not. He sees what potential there was…what could have been.
But at the same time we can choose to participate in construction and co-creation when we bring new life into the world, when we nurture our children with our time and attention (not necessarily with stuff), when we share what we have with others, when we forgive and forget, when we move past greed to selfless giving, when we remember God and are grateful.
God keeps the seasons moving so that we don’t get stuck in despair. Each new season brings a a new hope, a fresh start and so we get to choose again. God must want us to understand how terrible destruction is to allow such vivid and painful experiences but then after learning the lesson – so we can move on.