It seems this time of year as it gets colder and the leaves begin to turn golden and blazing red- we are amazed at the glory of God’s creation and saddened at the same time as it heralds the end of summer and the beginning of a desolate season without the signs of new life visible.
Don’t get me wrong, fall is one of my favorite times of the year, as it is so vivid in color, crisp in the air, the sky seems a more brilliant color of blue when there is a cloudless day, and on the cloudless nights a person can see that bright glow of the harvest moon which seems just a little bit larger than normal during this season.
Also occurring during this time is the ending for the season of the sight of freshly cut green grass, flowers in bloom, the sweet smell of an evening summer rain, and the bitter cold when that wind blows in off the lake, it chills you to the very bone with it’s icy grip and almost leaves you breathless at times.
Been embracing what I would call a "new grace" in starting to think more positively of the winter season, there has always been a love for snow in my heart- as a child I would laugh when I saw snow as I always thought it was incredible even though I was many years old (14) by the time I first saw snow in person.
God’s word in I Thessalonians 5:18 says “Be thankful in all circumstances for this is the will of God for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Paul also writes in Philippians 4:11 “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content.”
The challenge here for us to be thankful in all circumstances, and to be content sounds great, inspiring- but what does that really require of us as people of faith- can we even do it?
I confess I am not always content, when I look over the last year there have been too many times I have been complaining, when I should have been thankful, numerous times that I should have been thankful, and was most certainly uncomfortable with my circumstances.
What are we to do? Do we languish in our failings, or do we continue to strive to be smiling on the outside when we are less than gracious, and keep the peace when all we want to do is pick a fight some days? Quite a situation we find ourselves in, as Paul paints it clearly for us in Romans 7:14-15 and 22-25
14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do………….22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The burning answer to the question lies therein, we can not do it without the grace of our Lord, as hard as we try, we will always, always, need our savior. We must rely on what God says to us in his word, and trust in the promises that he gives us to find that enduring wellspring of thankfulness, and contentedness.
It seems then that as we accept Jesus gift of grace for the sin that we do, we do find some peace and thankfulness, and more fully understand the realization in our humanness that we must submit to his spirit to lead and guide us to those attributes. Until– we ultimately reach the place where we completely accept that God in his infinite wisdom has put us into the circumstances we find ourselves in, and we can give thanks even in our tribulations knowing that they have purposes in our lives to mold us and make us into something God can use for his glory.
James Chapter 1:2-4
2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
The leaves are piling up, and the snow is just days away now, so giving thanks takes on new meaning, as my muscles protest one more day of raking, but the beauty of the nice leaf piles in my yard provide me somehow an inner sense of peace this day that when one season ends- another new one always begins. God’s greatest gifts to us sometimes seem to be in the simplicity of the earth, how it changes grows, dies and is reborn again in the spring each year in all its magnificence as only God can do.
Our lives continue to be an evolving journey of faith not unlike the earth, from season to season, though we know not what tomorrow may bring. Lord, help us to be mindful of all the wonderful gifts you have given us in our lives and those things we most take for granted – a warm bed, a roof over our heads, a hot meal, and people who love & care about us.
May God teach us his thankfulness daily, and help us to be content even through our trials, so that we may be testimony to his never ending grace & love.