Isn’t it incredible that every single year God would remind us how beautiful it is to die?

What kindness is that?

It’s as if He’s saying, “Look here. See the majesty of the changing leaves? I’ve done all the work it requires to make something so unappealing into something so alluringly glorious. I invite you onto this path with Me. See how beautiful it is to die.”

But since when is death ever appealing? Since when did we ever see something start to die and exclaim, “Sign me up! I want that!”

We don’t live in a culture like that. We resist the masochism of mortifying our flesh and thereby forfeit the gain of the truest Life He has to offer.

And yet here we all are, marveling over the radiant beauty of these fiery reds and golden yellows and oranges. And the little heart-eyed emojis pop out with every snap of the Instagram post and every liker has that split-second inward gasp that awes over the beauty falling down all around us. Falling, falling, falling with the slightest breeze and we’re covered in nature’s invitation to come die.

Look at this beauty; come partake with us.

Could we ever believe it’d be worth it?

Could we ever grab onto the utterly whole conviction that the purest, strongest LIFE lays on the other side of this beautiful death, and the life to which I now cling is the most deceptive illusion there is?

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” ~John 12:24-25

It’s funny: we all want to go to heaven. But no one wants to die to get there.

We abhor the thought of death in favor of remaining in this current life. What if, though, the deception is in the abhorrence rather than the death itself?

I used to hate fall. It was a sign of oncoming depression. A winter outside the body, a winter inside the soul. It depressed me. Today, the striking nature of autumn captivates me with wonder as the swiftly shifting colors resonate deep within the secret place of my acceptance of this death.

“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” ~1 Corinthians 15:36

When we understand what we’re dying for, we can understand what kind of better life awaits us. If I told you someone was going to slice my chest open next week and remove my heart from my body, you would question my sanity. However, if I told you my heart was no longer functioning properly, you would question my sanity if I refused to allow that someone to slice my chest open and remove my heart to replace it with a new one. We call that a heart transplant and we call that someone a surgeon. Context means everything. This dying is not about dying. It’s about shedding a decrepit layer of dying life-skin in order to lay hold of a newness more alive than I have ever yet lived.

“…so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” ~1 Timothy 6:19

When the leaves die, the wind carries them away. Just the same, we say yes to this beautiful death and the Holy Spirit comes sweeping through to shake off our dead stems and ready us for a new growth we have never experienced. Can we accept the loss before the gain and just trust? Can we make like leaves and leave behind the lesser life for death’s secret hidden life in Life Himself?

“For you died, and your life is now hidden in Christ with God.” ~Colossians 3:3

These autumn leaves cry out to the souls of men to take heart, to take courage, and to trust the beauty of this beckoning death. For death has lost its sting, and these falling leaves tell a story of unspeakable falling glory that rakes in for me an everlasting life unobtained this side of glorious death.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” ~Galatians 2:20