It’s officially fall and I’m celebrating by writing this while seated next to an amber fire in our fire pit just across the way from our pond. Autumn is my favorite time of year and has been for thirty six years. From the first fall season I spent away from the coast of my childhood I was hooked. I don’t remember knowing before then that leaves change colors before turning loose from their branches, and that sitting out of doors at night could ever be enjoyed without swarms of stinging mosquitoes as unwelcome companions. Autumn is a period of transition from summer’s blistering heat on the way to winter’s barren hibernation; or to state it another way, it’s a time of noticeable change. Most of these differences are positive ones for me — cooler temperatures, fleece blankets, hot chocolate, holiday mode– but there is another less than appealing emotional side to change. I can’t help but consider the way life has altered itself forever over the past few years: A robust neighbor that only a few years ago would be riding his John Deere and tossing fallen limbs into a small trailer, who is now only a memory of his former self, resting quietly in an Alzheimer’s unit; my dear mother who made her own transition three years ago from this earthbound existence to her heavenly home; my father-in-law who left us mentally a couple of years ago and physically back in February of this year; four new grandchildren born into the family within the past six years; a different job, a different church, a different body (with aches and limitations I never knew before); the list of vital differences marches on.
It is in these quiet moments of sober reflection that I find great solace in an unchanging God. My heart gravitates all the more toward a Father not in transition Himself, who is perfectly able to carry me through the transitions within myself. What would I do if forced to grapple on my own with the ebb and flow of personal experience? Praise God I’ll never know. I am the variable; He is the constant. No doubt I will continue to change as will everything surrounding me, but my heart has found its resting place: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8, KJV).
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!