The following is part of the “Missionary Moment” series curated by Mark Albright.
In many parts of the world, the autumn brings a beautiful metamorphosis of color just before the stark monochrome of winter. Cooler temperatures and darker days decrease the production of chlorophyll (which gives leaves their green color). As the chlorophyll disappears, underlying pigments of yellow, orange, brown, and red begin to show through. Eventually the nutrient-carrying veins in the leaves close and the leaves fall to the ground.
The prophet Alma taught: “all things denote there is a God” (Alma 30:44 in the Book of Mormon). What is God teaching us through this yearly cycle of nature?
We all have seasons of autumn in our lives in which our focus and purpose is like the crisp air. In these seasons, the events of life are vibrant, colorful and changing. We are invigorated as we anticipate times with family and loves ones.
But the autumns of our lives often cycle to winters in which we enter times that are dull, colorless and even dark. These trials of life, often due to no fault of our own, include financial crises, health problems, mental or emotional struggles, broken relationships, crises of faith, loss of loved ones, and many others.
In nature, the fallen leaves of winter help maintain needed moisture and provide nutrients, preparing the soil for future growth. Likewise, the winter seasons of our own lives are important. They provide an important contrast against which we can better appreciate our blessings and they offer an opportunity to depend upon God more fully. Oh how we need Him in all aspects of our lives—temporally, emotionally, and spiritually. Increasing our dependence upon God, and thus receiving His guidance, love and peace during our dark hours, is perhaps the greatest blessing that can come from our personal winters.
We expect nature’s seasonal changes to take place each and every year. We can also expect that our own lives will have personal seasonal changes. May we allow these cycles to draw us closer to the Lord and align our will with His.
God bless each of you.
We love you,
Sister Michelle Miller
Senior Missionaries Serving in Philadelphia