Because they are dying. The seasons change and the flowers die. Trees lose their leaves and the lawn mower sits idle. But it is a glorious time of year.
Have you ever noticed that there is beauty in death? I don't mean that dying is somehow glorious in all its forms. After all, the Bible says that death and the grave are the final enemies which will be thrown into the lake of fire along with its source, which is sin. Sin earns death, but in the final day sin, death and the grave are all burned away.
As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57:
But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. (New Living Translation)
And yet there is a certain glory in dying when you belong to Jesus. Psalm 116:15 says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."
A truly godly person dies with grace. That is the victory over sin and death that Paul is talking about. Let me explain. Grace is often defined as "undeserved favor". Favor as in Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Favor as in being rescued by God when there is nothing in ourselves that has value. After all, it was G.K. Chesterton who said, "All men are equal, as all pennies are equal, because the only value in any of them is that they bear the image of the king."
But grace is more than just something we don't deserve. Grace is more than a trip to the carnival even when we are naughty. Grace is God, present in our lives, Christ empowering us to be victorious over sin and over death because His Holy Spirit resides in us. Grace is Christ IN us! We don't deserve Him, but there He is and there He chooses to stay.
Then when death comes, we can face it with grace. With Jesus. Our Shepherd who leads us through the valley of the shadow of death. We can face it with the beauty of Christ shining through us. As death nears, I have often seen the life of a saint become even more beautiful as eternity seems to shine through them. There is a transparency through which Jesus Christ colors their lives.
And just like the trees, having lost their leaves, and having no sign of life through the long, cold winter, come back to life in the spring, so we who die in Christ know that the eternal spring will be here soon.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)