The Gospel According to Autumn

by Lauren Hanssen October 6, 2017

I love fall. As I sit on my back patio writing these words, the air makes me want to breathe deeply and enjoy life purposefully. Sure, part of it may have to do with the crisp, humid-less air, the anticipation for holidays with my family, and the pure giddiness that comes from stepping on the crunchiest leaf. But my love for fall is much deeper than the pumpkin spice, bonfires, and football games. This season speaks to my soul.

For a season that brings so much death to creation (including a hunter's prize), there seems to be quite a bit of joy. More than that, there seems to be a deep-rooted peace. No matter the cold that is coming for certain, I know it will not last. Spring will come. In approximately six months, the flowers will bloom and vibrant colors will return to the land. No matter how frigid the winter, life will be restored. Just think, if we did not have this certain hope, we would plead with God like the animals of Narnia for winter not to come, for all it brings is death and bitter cold. The promise of spring brings hope to my heart and a sweet reminder to my soul.

This is the gospel. Jesus Christ turns back the timetable to bring life to the dying. This is my state without Him. Just like Isaiah 40:6-7 says, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.” The lushest tree in the summer cannot withstand the slightest autumn breeze that blows its coat away. On my own, I know I am living in an endless cycle of coming winter and death (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Praise God that this is not how Isaiah 40 ends. Peter comforts persecuted Christians with these words in his first letter: “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:23-25). My first birth led me to death, but praise the Lord He allowed that I was born again to a living hope through His Son Jesus Christ. This hope promises to never fade but is instead an evergreen of life and eternity with my Savior. That, my friends, is good news.

Christians are promised seasons of cold. Just like the believers to whom Peter wrote, life will be hard and suffering will come. What is even more certain than the chill that causes the leaves to fall is the hope of the Son returning in glory to bring eternal life and reward to his people.

Therefore, I do not live as one chaffed by the bitter cold of this world. I live with my eyes set on eternity, looking to the certain return of my Savior. The creatures of Narnia understood this living hope as well. As they awaited the return of their king, they sang:

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,

At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,

When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,

And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” (C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe)

So enjoy this beautiful season. Take a stroll. Drink some apple cider. I’m convinced that conversation is just better around a fire pit. But more than all these things, in this season, praise God for the gospel that brings direction to the lost, rejoicing to the sorrowful, and life to the dead.