Every Spring we receive a gift from the Lord that often goes unnoticed . . . the beauty of new creation. Trees that, a few weeks before, appeared dry and lifeless now hold countless buds just waiting to blossom. In God’s beautiful design, all nature reflects the hope of beautiful things to come!
Right now the fruit trees in my yard are scenting the air with a fragrance so pure that it cannot be duplicated. As I take in the beauty of gardens in full glory, I’m reminded of God’s perfect, restorative cycle of creation.
In nature, old things automatically become new again, in tune with an inner clock given to each living thing by our Creator.
In our human condition, the Lord has chosen a different cycle. We live out the seasons of our lives under His grace. As we’ve often heard, winter is the final season of life for these temporary shells we inhabit on earth. Some finish strong, seizing the chilling winds of change with full strength and energy.
But for some, like my mother, it’s a season of struggle as her own body betrays her. Her vision is cloudy now. Her once-striking blue eyes seem smaller as she strains to focus and read her Bible every morning. Weak and shaky now, she’s unable to rise and do the simple things she enjoys. Her mind and sweet sense of humor, once so keenly focused, wanders in a fog of confusion. She shares stories of long ago as if it were yesterday and I’ve never heard them. I love her enough to pretend that I haven’t.
For my mother, there will be no renewed growth or better days ahead on this earth. Recognizing this is part of life and yes, I know that all of us will go through this. Yet I find myself surprisingly unprepared for the difficult conversations that await.
Looking at the apostle Paul’s life as we close out our study in Acts, we see such mental and internal focus. His heart burned for the lost—many times at great cost to his own health and safety. From our vantage point in history, we observe what he accomplished and how God blessed his ministry. We owe him a debt of gratitude for sharing the gospel with Gentiles. Because of Paul’s life well-lived and his powerful testimony, we are part of his legacy.
Paul shared the true gospel with everyone and the Church grew. Ministers, teachers, and disciples were raised up and sent out. The Word was preached to thousands in his day and countless millions across the world in every generation.
One day long ago, a man came with a tent and a message to a small town in Iowa where a young girl heard the gospel and believed. God placed His calling on that Southern Baptist preacher who came to the town where my mom lived. She came to faith because someone else was faithful to the calling God placed on their life.
I am eternally grateful for that man, even as I am for the man whose calling from the Lord to share the gospel influenced me many years later (thank you Pastor Greg). Because someone was faithful to share the lifesaving gospel with us, our hope is strong and sure.
What season of life are you in right now? While this may be a season of spring for most, this is my mom’s winter. She is suffering, yet we both know what is waiting for her. An overwhelming hope of beautiful life to come. She often says she is ready to go home. She will be renewed. She will be like the trees we see right now—beautiful, fragrant, strong and bearing fruit. She will laugh and run and sing. She loves to sing!
As believers, we all have a calling on our life. Let’s not close our study books on Acts and walk away unchanged. We have studied, we have discussed, and we have been challenged. Paul’s story is not fiction. It is not a play that was written to entertain us.
Paul’s life is a true example of one man, one life poured out completely for God’s glory, crossing the finish line with few regrets and a legacy of changed lives, just as his was.
Like my own mother. Like you and me.
We are loved, forgiven and renewed.
Called to faithfully share the gospel and continue passing on this legacy of faith to the next generation.