Browsing Tag

autumn

Christian Life, Life

God in Autumn

September 22, 2016

 

 

 

I’ve started wearing a jacket and gloves when I bike to work each morning, sure evidence that fall is here. As days get shorter we’re entering my favorite time of year. There’s something beautifully crisp and lively about fall, and I was reveling in the beginning hints of my favorite season during my ride this morning.

There’s something holy about reveling in God’s creation. The Psalmist spends nearly 30 verses doing so in Psalm 104, line after line detailing the miraculousness of this earth. From the fact that the waters don’t cover the dry land to the fact that God provides food from the ground for animals and “wine that gladdens human hearts” (v.14) to the mysterious terrors of the oceans and death “when you take away their breath,” (v.29) the Psalmist uses creation as a lens to focus and sharpen his joy so that at the close of the Psalm he can declare “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

Let’s take a cue from the Psalmist as we enter fall. As leaves go from green to a dozen shades of orange, red, and brown and as we don sweaters and scarves, let’s make space for reveling in what God has given us in this earth. That reveling will inevitably lead us to take joy in the Lord.

Rather than constantly rushing from one thing to the next in the next week, set aside some moments to go for a leisurely stroll. Head to a state park. Bundle up and go star gazing. Don’t rush it. Look at the details of this creation and be amazed by it. Think about the fact that the trees you’re seeing live off dirt, air, and sunlight; that you’re on a ball twirling through space at thousands of miles an hour; that your body somehow miraculously takes what you ate for lunch and turns it into energy that enables you to walk, breath, talk, think, and read this. As you revel, watch as your soul declares “Lord my God, you are very great”!
Take the time to get in nature this week, particularly if you are feeling depressed and burdened. There’s a reason why the Psalmist is able to end his Psalm with joy. As Charles Spurgeon declared,

He who forgets the humming of the bees among the heather, the cooing of the wood-pigeons in the forest, the song of birds in the woods, the rippling of rills among the rushes, and the sighing of the wind among the pines, needs not wonder if his heart forgets to sing and his soul grows heavy.

Get out of the house, apartment, cubicle, and car. Go enjoy a tree. A field. The open sky. Let them teach your heart to sing. The Psalmist prays, “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works” (v.31). Let’s join the Lord in that rejoicing this fall.

 

 

 

Prose

Autumn Chill

September 12, 2009

It is a Saturday evening in September, and I am tired in body, heart, and soul. The last few weeks have been rather melancholy and sorrowful. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary has happened, but these last nights I’ve felt dissatisfied and lonely. More often than not I deal with it in my normal way of listening to music, writing, or wandering around outside beneath the stars and praying.

To be honest, I thought nothing much of the state of my heart until a few nights ago when I was talking with a friend and he mentioned that he had been feeling lonely and dissatisfied for the last week or two. His comment struck my memory and reminded me that our youth pastor’s wife had told me last year that her and her husband Andy experienced a similar thing almost every September/October. I talked with her this morning and she confirmed that the last month or so has been rough for them, and as I thought back to this time last year I recall my state of heart being much like it is now.

What they am I to think? My first reaction is to wonder if this is not some sort of spiritual warfare, for surely such frustration and weariness cripples our love and joy for the Lord, a thing which Satan would take great delight in. I would very much like to hear from other Christians and know their experiences and thoughts. (By all means, leave your comments on this post!)

Whether it is direct spiritual warfare or mere coincidence or something else, the question to be asked is, what are we to do when times like this come? How do we continue in love, joy, peace, and faith when our emotions are far from those things? The answer, as is always true, is found in the Scripture.

In short, fight! Do not allow your emotions to control you; instead, preach the truth of scripture to your heart and soul. The Psalmist exemplifies this in Psalm 42 when he tells his soul, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise him” in the midst of a dark time. Read and memorize the Lord’s words and minister to yourself in times of need. Christ spoke that we might have fullness of joy (John 15:11), read and know those words so that they might have their intended affect.

Secondly, pray! Cast yourself upon God. Does trouble come near? Do you feel weak? Pray! Pray! Again, the Psalms declare, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you,” (Psalm 55:22) and Peter echoes, saying, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)

And thirdly, open yourself to fellow believers. Be not afraid of appearing weak or moody or foolish. God’s people are to be a band of brethren who shall uphold and encourage those who are in need. Are you tired and frustrated with this life? Share openly with those the Lord has placed in your life and you shall find wondrous companionship. Paul talks in Romans, as well as in his other letters, of being “mutually encouraged” (Romans 1:11) by other Christians. Be like him in this regard, giving and receiving of the grace that God has shed abroad among his people.

So I’m not sure if it’s some backhanded attack of Satan to drag down on the hearts of believers whom I know as we transition from summer into fall, but I am confident in what I will do to combat these wayward emotions. I hope that you do the same. Create a strategy to overcome your own wayward heart, and carry it out. Over time God will work in amazing ways to align your heart with his. You won’t regret it!