I have a maple tree in the front of my yard, and for 7 years, I’ve witnessed its growth from infancy. I’ve watched it endure the different seasons, and this is what I’ve noticed.
The cold of winter, brings death to the leaves, displaying its bare branches. There was a bit of white beauty on the branches, when we had snow this year. However, the snow melts, and temperatures rise because, the early parts of spring are arriving.
In the beginning of spring, I am able to capture the “new life” of the flowering maple leaves. Early signs of spring signals a nearing end to a dead winter, that lasted a little too long this year. The time changes, and our sunlights are longer, nights shorter. Now, it’s currently late spring.
During the late part of spring, the tiny red flowers, on my maple tree, has now bloomed into full green leaves with reddish colored tips. The maple tree is now a nice place for the birds to build a home in the hidden parts of the branches that were once bare. Summer is fast approaching, and warmly greeted.
In the summer, the leaves are in full bloom and display a strength in its beauty. The leaves serve a purpose, in providing shade from the scorching summer sun. As the sun rays begin to lose its sting, and the days become shorter, we know fall is next.
In the time of fall, my maple tree leaves change color to an array of oranges, reds, brown and yellows. I can enjoy the rustling sound of leaves caught on a breezy day. The leaves fall, the branches become bare, the birds seek shelter in warmer climates and I, like the rest of my neighbors, prepare for the cold, the shorter days, and longer nights of winter.
As I’ve watched the different season come and go, and the effects that it’s had on the maple tree, I think about my marriage. I’ve watched it too, from its infancy, enduring the seasons of life.
I reflect on the “winters”. The snowball fight of words, the anger as hot as the fireplace, and cold times of affection. The times of freezing temperatures, that caused laughter to be dormant and tears were constant, frozen to the cheeks of my face.
Yes the winters were hard, but spring did come, bringing in a slow warmth, to dry the tears.
Ecclesiastes 3, is a great reminder, that everything, even our marriages have a season, and time for every purpose, under heaven.
Summer will come. Fall will come. Winter will come. Spring will come.
Yes the seasons change, and as I look out my window at that maple tree in the front yard, I want to share an unseen secret about that tree. The roots, the unseen strength of the tree, is a reflection of its perseverance. Much like a marriage planted, rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ.
He is the unseen strength, that allows the marriage to still stand, and endure as a maple tree. Strong roots in Christ, no matter the season, will stand.
Like my tree, marriage endures the winter seasons, returning every summer bigger, stronger and more beautiful.
A firm, resilient, large, charming “maple tree” should be a reflection of God’s design for marriage, growing in strength, stretching branches of grace, with large green leaves of love, gracefully providing shade to those that lay under it and gaze at its beauty.
Standing, enduring and lasting.
Maybe you are facing a winter and going through many trials in your marriage. Be encouraged by Romans 5:3-5,
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and to us character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
I am learning to rejoice in times of “sufferings” in our marriage, because I know it will produce endurance, like the maple tree in all four seasons. And from that endurance, God wants to shape the character of our marriage, which produces hope, not shame because of His love pouring into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
We can rest in His promise, that “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and rejoice in the “sufferings” that produces endurance in our marriages.