Disappointing Season

Why, O my soul, are you downcast? – Psalm 42:11 NIV

Of all the months of the year, October is my favorite. There isn’t a thing I don’t like about it, except it’s only 31 days.

The cooler temperatures bring on sweater season, cuddle season, soup and stew season, and the first fire in the wood burner. The hillsides explode in brilliant splashes of scarlet, gold, orange. The shorter daylight hours hint at long, relaxing evenings by the wood burner, reading and crocheting.

Ah, autumn . . . Author Lee Maynard called it “the season of the year that God seemed to put there just for the beauty of it.”

“If I were a bird,” wrote George Eliot, “I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.”

This year, I wish I could fly about the earth seeking autumn! Because it certainly seems to have bypassed us in these parts.

Too much precipitation and unseasonably warm temperatures have resulted in a disappointing fall season. Rain and wind teamed up to snatch dying leaves from the trees before they had a chance to turn. Three weeks into October, the red maple in front of my house is still green, although half its leaves are gone. And how I looked forward to the bright orange glow infusing my dining room!

I took for granted the October leaves would always be vibrant, the temperatures would always turn cooler, and I would snuggle under warmer blankets. I never expected the leaves to go straight from late-summer green to drab brown, or to wear shorts and flip flops when I longed to wrap myself in my favorite sweater and putter around the house in my soft, sheep-fur-lined moccasins.

I expected October to always be brilliant and beautiful.

When our expectations collide with reality, disappointment crashes in.

My disappointment with the season pales in comparison to disappointment with the way life often turns out.

We expect good; we get bad.

We expect health, we get illness.

We expect fair weather; we get wind and rain and storms.

We expect faithfulness; we get betrayal.

We expect to enjoy a long, happy, loving marriage; we get widowhood and loneliness much sooner than we expected.

We expect a comfortable income; we get too much month at the end of the money.

We expect reward for all our hard work; we get more hard work with no reward in sight.

We expect the garden to produce a bountiful harvest. We get blight, bugs, and bad weather.

But God never promised us a charmed life, did He?

He never promised nothing bad would ever happen to us. But He does promise to work all things for our good (Romans 8:28). It may not by what we planned, but His plans are for our good (Jeremiah 29:11) and are exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20; Isaiah 55:8–9).

He never promised us a life free of troubles, trials, and tribulations. In fact, Jesus said we should expect them (John 16:33). But He did promise to be us through them (Isaiah 43:2).

He never promised to give us all we want. But He did promise to provide us with everything we need (Matthew 6:25–33, and Philippians 4:19).

He never promised we’d never be alone. But He did promise to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

He never promised we wouldn’t suffer the pains of growing old, but He did promise to sustain and carry us through our golden years (Isaiah 46:4).

He never promised other people, particularly those we love, wouldn’t disappoint us. But He did promise to be all we need (Lamentations 3:21–26).

He never promised us a battle-free life. But He did promise us victory (John 16:33).

His Word is filled with His promises to His children.

The world, your family, your friends, your life may disappoint you.

But God never will.

When I’m enduring a season of disappointment, Lord, help me to hear Your whispers of hope. Amen.

 Read and meditate on Psalm 42.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

The View from the Top

 

Amy after her long, cold, scary climb

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. –Habakkuk 3:19 NIV

My friend Amy and her husband, Matt, are mountain climbing enthusiasts. So much so that they take a mountain-climbing vacation every year. They’ve scaled the heights in Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, and Norway, as well as all over the U.S. Currently they’re in Italy and are headed to Croatia.

In the months prior to their mountain-climbing expeditions, Matt and Amy train hard, strengthening muscle and endurance.

And when they head for the peaks, I follow their mountain-climbing exploits on Facebook. And am blown away. Yesterday Amy posted pictures, noting the climb was “long, scary, cold, big.”

It sure looked scary. Spikey and steep. Like almost straight-up steep.

“But I did it!” she commented. “Matt is an awesome mountain guide.”

The view from the top was breathtaking. And worth the climb.

For Amy and Matt, that is. You won’t catch me on a mountaintop unless I ride up. In fact I have – last year we rode to the summit of Montana’s Whitefish Mountain in a closed gondola. And when I was in Colorado Springs, I took the Cog Railway 14,000 feet to the top of Pike’s Peak.

Life has it mountain-climbing moments, doesn’t it? Long. Scary. Steep. Spikey. Cold. Big. Seemingly impossible. And no rides to the top.

And in life, our training for the tough climbs is the tough climbs.

But we have a Guide who gives us the strength we need. Indeed, when we are weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).

On the climb, He enables us to scale the heights, making us sure-footed (even when our hearts and minds aren’t so sure) and keeps us safe, encouraging us with these words: “Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed or intimidated. For I am with you wherever you go. I will never leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:9, Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6).

The climb itself strengthens us like no ride to the top ever will. Not only are we strengthened physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

“It was tough,” we can say. “It was long, scary, cold, steep, and big. But I did it! Jesus is an awesome guide.”

The view at the top is breathtaking – and worth the climb.

It is a view we carry with us as we descend and then traverse the valleys of life. A memory that strengthens our resolve because we know we are not alone. We have a Guide who enables us and will never abandon us, even when we’re clinging to the side of a cliff. A Shepherd who will leave the 99 and seek and save the one who wandered away.

And we are encouraged because we know when the next mountain looms before us and there is no way around it, we can strap on our mountain-climbing gear and follow our Guide up to the top.

Are you climbing a mountain now? Clinging to the side of a cliff? Or at the base of an intimidating spikey tower, staring up in dismay at the climb before you?

Rest assured, precious one, you are not alone, even though at times you may feel alone.

Anchor your faith not in your feelings, which fluctuate like weather on a mountain, but in the One who gives His angels charge over you, to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11). And who is with you every step of the climb.

Thank You, Lord, for making the view worth the climb. Thank you for being my Guide. Amen.

Read and meditate on Romans 5:1–5.

MORE PICTURES FROM AMY AND MATT:

 

 

 

 

 © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Pictures courtesy of Matt and Amy Talladay,  © 2018.