Our backyard is full of trees that seem to burst with life and greenery in the summertime. There is a little cove in the back right corner where the branches seem to envelop two teal lawn chairs and when you sit up there, watching the sun fade behind the house, it’s pure magic. The squirrels and birds dance around in the mornings, often fighting over the many bird feeders provided for their pleasure. It’s a display of breathtaking ordinary beauty, and it’s dying now.
Cool winds have blown in, a few leaves are falling from the branches on which they laughed all summer and the atmosphere has lost it’s playfulness. For a short week or two, the green will be replaced by a vibrant yellow or orange, and just when it feels as if the dying trees have been revived, an east wind of November will blow in and the colors fall. The branches will be thin and empty. The life will seem to die. The animals run away. The yard that was once brimming with life and beauty and warmth become dreary and cold. Lost.
Yet we don’t mourn the loss, or question whether or not spring will bring back the vibrancy we once knew so well. We understand that this time of year is an integral part of our seasonal system. Therefore we have hope of spring and can enjoy goodness and grace in this dark and cold season, knowing the warmth and light is coming back. It has always come. Why would we doubt it now?
Do you believe spring is more certain than the promises of the God who sends it? I believe many of us unconsciously do.
Lately my feeble senses have tempted me to believe that God has forgotten to keep His promises. Why does it seem as though what was once full of life and beauty is now dying? How can it be true that one day He will wipe away every tear when there are so many still falling? How can it be that He is working all things for good when the wound aches so?
Ah, those feeble senses. What sly and deadly little things they are. They are the lifeblood of my “own understanding” creeping up and choking out the trust in my Lord’s promises I once knew so well. Do you think it was an accident that this verse was recorded for us?
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding."
Proverbs 3:5 ESV
If you and I knew not the nature of the seasons, we would believe the world was ending when autumn arrived. The trees in our yards are barren. The creatures that once roamed are now fleeing. Darkness is growing longer. Warmth is replaced by a bitter cold. Based off of what we see, smell, hear, and feel, this must be the end of all things. Right?
Wrong. Here our own understanding would have failed us.
I sit here drinking hot tea and watching the yellow and orange leaves fall. The days are growing shorter and thoughts of Christmas are beginning to blossom. I sit here in complete rest and assurance that spring will come again. This seemingly dying season is not the end of all things and because I am certain of this, due to my trust in spring’s impending arrival, I am able to simply live here in it without fear or restlessness. In fact, I can even find joy as I wait calmly, steadfastly, and assuredly resting in the promise of spring.
Oh my soul, why are you so much more trusting in the seasons than you are in the God who lovingly and sovereignly ordains them?
We know the truth, even when our senses – our own understanding – seem to contradict it. Spring always comes. Life isn’t gone. The creatures return. Warmth melts the cold. And you know what? Our loving Father is the one who brings these very things.
Do you believe that the God who set in motion the cycle of the seasons would allow His creation to be more faithful and sure than He Himself? No, indeed not. If you need more convincing, close this little internet tab and read through the Scriptures. Promise after promise made and kept. Consider for instance, a forbidden fruit and a rescuer that was promised. He came. He lived. He died. He rose again. He has not failed. He will not fail.
One of the promises we have is that He is with us always, even here in this time of longing and groaning for restoration and new creation. Even here in our confusion and questions. He won’t leave us, even when we feel uncertain, He will hold us fast.
William Cowper writes in the hymn God Moves in a Mysterious Way:
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
but trust Him for His grace.
Dear friend, when you are tempted as I am to doubt the faithful promise keeping God, look outside and see the leaves falling. Remember how unreliable your own feeble senses and understanding truly are. Look to the God who has not failed, and will not fail. Stand confidently on every promise of His word when all the world screams out against them.
This is not the end, even if it may feel like it. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense. Trust Him for His grace. Tell yourself the truth. Cling to His promises. Fix your eyes on the God who lovingly instructs the seasons and holds us in His hands.
Spring will assuredly come. God will indeed keep His promises.