Autumn was a favorite time for us as children. Although it meant the return to classrooms for another year of school, it also meant a trip to the apple orchard outside our city. We would jump out of the car upon arrival and pick beautiful red and yellow apples from the trees, running from row to row to find the biggest pieces of fruit we could! And the trees along the two-lane country roads that took us to our destination were always stunning. Dressed in leaves of ruby-red, deep orange, and brilliant yellow, they seemed to brighten everything around them. But soon enough, the rainbow of colors would begin to fade, falling in swirls to the ground and blanketing the old roads until the winds of October would rise and blow them into waiting fields.
In Isaiah 64:6, we are compared to the leaves of autumn and our sin is compared to the winds that blow them about. We are going along our way, everything seemingly fine, when we begin to fade, wither, and fall, unable to attain God’s standard of righteousness by our own efforts, soon finding ourselves giving in to compromise. We feel as weak as a dried leaf, tossed with the wind of our sinful nature. What can be done about our sin problem, always threatening like an unexpected, strong wind? There is a comforting answer in 1 John 1:9:
But if we confess our sins to him, he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.
Unlike the fading leaves of autumn, we have new life in Christ when we receive His gift of salvation. We may not find the new path to always be filled with brilliant, beautiful scenery, but God promises to forgive our failings and give us strength for the journey.