It was a crisp Autumn afternoon, and the rich colours of the season glowed from trees and crunched underfoot as, for the first time, I discovered a marsh; I was thrilled! There were walkways to encourage me to wander, and I did so with fascination. All around were signs of decay, uprooted trees, discarded branches, and the debris of a dying summer. To my delight, however, I discovered new life springing up; fungi around the trunks of dead trees, lichen and moss clinging to discarded branches, providing a new home for a variety of insects, and luxuriant, overgrown undergrowth teeming with life. “As dying, and, behold we live…” I murmured, thinking of Paul’s letter to Corinth [2 Corinthians 6:9].
Inevitably my thoughts turned to Yahshua, from Whose death sprang a vibrant new life that would last forever. To His shocked and traumatised friends His crucifixion must have felt like the ultimate defeat, His death the end of all hope; yet it was the greatest victory ever won! “Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone;” remarked Yahshua, “but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” [John 12:24]. He was teaching spiritual truth through this nature picture, and later demonstrated how it worked in humanity through His own death and resurrection.
“…do not be afraid of suffering or defeat,” writes Henry Ward Beecher, “It is through being ‘struck down, but not destroyed’ [2 Corinthians 4:9] and through being broken to pieces, and those pieces being torn to shreds, that we become people of strength.” How hard this is to contemplate, yet so many of us know what it is like to feel “…crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure…” [2 Corinthians 1:8] and “...hard pressed on every side…” [4:8].
Why does Yahweh allow bad things to happen to good people? This question is as ancient as the book of Job! We can never ‘second-guess’ the Creator, but we can trust the reality that death produces life and that, “all things work together for the good of those who love [Yahweh]: those who are called according to His purpose” [Romans 8:28]. So, don’t be afraid for in dying we live!
Other pictures copyright Val Warsop