Fall is in the air.
The trees are still green, but daydreams of lying under a canopy of gold and looking up through the leaves while the sunlight plays in dapple drops on your face make you smile, because you know what’s coming. You know it’s not far away…this season of autumn-crisp days and pumpkin-scented everything.
Mmmm…yes, hope is stirring.
Hope is stirring in anticipation of the changing seasons because you know that the season coming brings the warmth of blankets and family and cider and curling up with a good book with no guilt at all.
And maybe, like me, the hope inside your soul is stirring, too.
Because maybe as the seasons change outside your window, the seasons are changing inside as well. Maybe within your heart, the darkness of the shadows that have been hovering is being dappled by sunlight drops of hope that have fallen through the leaves of doubt and fear.
And these rays of light piercing through feel like the breath you’ve been holding for much too long, finally re-entering your lungs, filling them with the courage you’ve so desperately needed, and the will to take one more step.
I know you’ve been fighting hard and your strength has nearly vanished. But the changing of seasons inside your soul is an echo of this eternal whisper of the One who Loves you most:
“…do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10, NIV
Oh how these words are like the warm glow of an autumn candle, its flame flickering on the wall as dusk settles in. These words are a reminder that the restoration slowly happening inside…it’s Him. And the dapple of light that has broken through the leaves of confusion…that’s Him, too. He is the warm blanket wrapping up your heart. He is the freedom of moving forward and being confident and jumping in leaf-piles of grace.
But maybe in the midst of this you still don’t know exactly where you’re going and maybe the shadows of despair are still lingering around the edges of your heart. Oh, baby girl, it’s ok – changing seasons often feel like chaos even in the midst of the penetrating light. He’s holding you here, too. And you can be assured of His promises – even if those fiery dreams have grown dim in the face of disillusionment, even if the wreckage of unmet expectations has yet to be cleaned up, even if you feel forgotten – oh HIS PROMISES ARE TRUE. And with light and hope they will cut through these crusty souls that have been through a drought season that has lasted long enough.
Will you trust Him, even if the changing of seasons still doesn’t look as you’d planned? I bet you will, because I believe that for you, like for me, the season you’re coming out of has taught you that trusting Him regardless of whether or not things work out as you’d hoped is one of the greatest lessons of intimacy and faith that you have ever learned. And you know this now to be true:
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21, NLT
And oh, what hope is wrapped up inside this promise for those who believe in the goodness of God! His purpose will prevail. We’ll dream and we’ll plan and, trust me, He made you the way you are so there’s a reason for the dreams within! But always, always, the Lord’s purpose prevails. So rest, weary soul. And breathe in the autumn air.
This stirring hope, though rimmed with shadows, is going to swell and grow into a full-fledged, golden-canopied joy that can only come from an unshakeable faith that has actually been borne out of the unlikely soil of disillusionment and doubt. Because, oh didn’t Jesus say,
“…blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Matthew 11:6, ESV
He is who He says He is. Mighty. Powerful. Strong. Tender. Loving. Kind. Just. Merciful. He can work miracles and He can move mountains. He works all things together for our good, and now is our chance to believe this and not be offended by Him if what is actually for our good doesn’t feel good, and even if we see the miracles playing out around us but not exactly for us, because actually through all of this a miracle is being wrought within us, because here we learn to believe Him even if we do not and cannot understand what is happening.
And there is a promised blessing here for us.
Oh Jesus. To not be offended by You. To completely 100% believe You are who You say You are. That is the autumn air because it is the blessed assurance that nothing can take me from Your hand and nothing can dissolve your purposes. So what I am experiencing, though it may not be as I had hoped, it is part of Your plan, and You are beautiful and perfect in all of Your ways, so I can breathe in deep, even with tears in my eyes, and I can say, “It’s ok. I Love You and I believe You so it’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok.”
This is the hope awakening within me. And I believe it is stirring in you, too. Fall is in the air. Change is coming. Let hope arise. You have not been forgotten, and neither have those dreams inside of you. Your purpose will come to pass because His purposes always prevail .
Autumn light, dapple our souls. Jesus we Love You and we embrace the new thing You are doing within us. Thank you for restoring our hope and for being the source of all of our joy…
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11, ESV
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5, ESV
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14, ESV
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT
As we enter into this new season, let's have an expectation of JOY. To help us along, I've partnered with Pastor Sara Conner to create 31-day devotional all about joy called Sunny Side Up. You can download it here for free!!