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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
…He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11)
I had awoken before dawn and raced out to catch the early light at Mt Field National Park. The fagus (nothofagus gunnii), Tasmania’s only native deciduous tree, was turning on the tarn shelf, and I wanted to capture the autumn colors in the golden glow of the morning light.
The only problem was the fagus was not nearly as far along as had been reported, so there was extremely little to shoot. My other problem was there was not a cloud in the sky–all day. While I certainly won’t complain about an absolutely gorgeous, warm, sunny day, the harsh lighting conditions were quite frustrating from a photographer’s perspective.
I sprinted across the tarn shelf, hoping to find a bright yellow patch of fagus before the sun rose too high, but I eventually realized it was a lost cause. Then around Newdegate a beautiful pandani leaf caught my eye, so I gave up on the fagus and embraced the pandani instead.
Endemic to Tasmania, the pandani remind me of miniature palm trees…sort of…If truth be told, they actually look more like little people with funky hairdos to me.
Though not technically a deciduous plant, when these green and maroon pandani leaves begin to die, they turn bright yellow, orange and red. However, in autumn they are often completely overlooked for their more famous endemic cousin, the fagus.
This photograph reminds me of the Scripture in Ecclesiastes 3 that says God has, “…made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Though God had not yet brought the fagus to its height of autumn beauty that day, he had certainly done so for this pandani leaf.
It makes me think of our own lives. Sometimes it takes a long time for God to cultivate the beauty of Christ’s character in us. There is often a lot of pruning, weeding and watering he needs to do before we become laden with spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). When we meet those who have been walking with the Lord for 40, 50 or 60 years, they often exude the beautiful fragrance of Christ. In time, the Lord has made them spiritually beautiful and fruitful.
Whenever we get frustrated with ourselves and at our lack of Christlikeness we would do well to remember that:
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29)
God’s destiny for us as believers is to conform us to the beautiful likeness of Christ. God is faithful, and he will certainly do it. He will surely make us spiritually beautiful in his time.
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)