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  • Writer's pictureElijah Blalock

The Grass Withers, the Flowers Fade

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

A voice was saying, “Cry out!”

Another said, “What should I cry out?”

“All humanity is grass,

and all its goodness is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flowers fade

when the breath of the Lord blows on them;

indeed, the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flowers fade,

but the word of our God remains forever.”

Isaiah 40:6-8

The other day, I had a strange experience looking at my reflection in a window. Of course, nothing was surprising about my reflection, but I started thinking. I looked at myself and realized, "I am temporary." Right now, I'm young, strong, and full of life, but this cannot last. And not only that but I was surrounded by people who were also temporary. Each of them has a life that is just as interesting as mine, with families, friends, jobs, passions, and problems, and yet, they could have died later that night and I would've never heard of it. The same would be true of me as well. I am so enthralled with my life and what I have worked for, and I tend to act and behave as though my life, or at least my accomplishments, will live on forever, but the sad reality is that neither of these is true. I and everyone that I care about is like the grass, and our goodness and glory are like the flowers of the field—quickly fading, quickly forgotten.

These thoughts are enough to tempt me to despair. I know that if the Lord called me, I am ready to die, but I don't want to. I still feel the fear in my heart. I am tempted to give up on anything difficult, because, after all, whatever I accomplish will be quickly forgotten. Where can I go for some sense of permanence? Everything we experience in this life is temporary. There is nothing I can have, nothing I can do, and no one that I can love that will last. Everything is fading.

But the word of our God remains forever. My life may come and go, my memories may die, and the earth itself may pass away, but even then, the word of our God remains forever. God is the only eternal thing that I can give my life to. After everything else passes away, His word will still remain. God is not a liar. What He has said cannot be revoked, overruled, or forgotten. His word accomplishes what He sends it out to do (Is. 55:11), and the entire universe is sustained by his powerful word (Heb. 1:3).

What, then, is His word to us? The book of Isaiah goes on to tell us of God's promise to His people that judgment would not last forever. Redemption is coming! Peter tells us that this word is the gospel that was proclaimed to us (1 Pet. 1:25). The redemption promised in Isaiah is fulfilled in the gospel of Jesus, who has given us an eternal inheritance far more valuable than any of the perishable things we know here. When I look at my fleeting life and want to despair, God gives me His word that my earthly life is not all that there is. I and everything else may pass away, but God's word, which brought me and held me in existence, can also give me life beyond this one. I may pass away, but the word of our God remains forever!

And what is the life he has promised me? Is the eternal, incarnate Word of God. It is Christ Himself. God has life in and of Himself, and He has invited us into that eternal life. My inheritance and reward are not that I will be remembered by people, but that I will forever be in fellowship with God Himself.

How do I live in light of this? First, I should stop obsessing over things that fade. Flowers are pretty. Enjoy them while they are here, but know that they don't last. Temporary things are not meant to give me eternal significance. However, secondly, the work I do and the life I live are not pointless. It matters, not because people will remember it, but because God will. God, by His eternal word, has given me some small role in this world, and by faithful obedience, God does His work through me. The results of the work are not for me to worry about, and the glory for the work doesn't belong to me. Those are in God's hands. My job is to glorify God and enjoy Him—which is an eternal job.

Looking around right now, I see beauty all around me as the leaves begin to change colors. However, I also know that the leaves are beautiful because they are dying, and that this dying means that winter is right around the corner and that most of the beautiful things we love to see in nature will either die or go dormant for months. Winter is a sort of death. But then next year, spring will roll around, and nature will spring back to life again. The seasons give me hope. Like the dying leaves, God can bring something beautiful out of my own fleeting life. I am not pointless. But more than that, just as he does for the trees every spring, God can give me life again. I know it because His word tells me so, and even if everything else around me passes away, His word remains forever.

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