Good Sunday morning! The winter season is here if the temperature is anything to go by. We're in Chapter 10 of Meeting God in Quiet Places, and F. LaGard Smith uses parables to show changes and contrasts and how they can make us appreciate all the variations of our lives and how God works in it.
Now that you are thinking of the changes and contrasts, give some thought to your attitude toward them. You would like for the good times and happiness to stay longer, but it's sadness that seems to hang around. But realistically speaking, the very fact that things change means that your sadness could soon be replaced by its opposite--happiness. In any case, the fact that things change gives us hope for a better day.
So no matter what comes along--bereavement, separation, rejection, shame, discouragement, suffering, hatred, persecution, and a long list of everyday problems you'd rather skip--you can think of David, who had his share of difficulties. In Psalm 30, he said, "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning!" David knew all about tragedy turning into triumph!
And it was probably Jeremiah who said in Lamentations that in the changing seasons of life, the STEADFAST LOVE OF THE LORD NEVER CEASES!
His mercies NEVER come to an end; THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING!
So you're looking at God's faithfulness!
And you may be thinking that Jeremiah was just having a good day when he made these statements. But you would be wrong. These words were said after the fall of Jerusalem! The Babylonians had come through slaughtering men, women, and children. But what Jeremiah believed was what he had seen from God: if there was a time of war, there would be a time of peace; God was faithful to create Israel and He would be faithful now.
Q) Is your life at a standstill and unproductive?
A) God promises fruitfulness, and He is faithful who promised!
God brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage.
Q) Are you in a kind of bondage in your life--something that helplessly enslaves you?
A) God promises freedom, and He is faithful that promised!
The wilderness wandering was a time when the Israelites wondered about God's faithfulness. But who were the unfaithful? It was the sin of the Israelites that kept them wandering. God provided the land in spite of their rebellion.
Q) Are you going through a season of sin and wandering away from God, repeating the same sins over and over?
A) God promises forgiveness, and He will remain faithful!
And after being taken into Babylonian captivity, the Israelites wondered how they could sing songs of the Lord while in a foreign land.
Q) Are you going through a period of exile and alienation? Are you wondering how you in your present state can sing songs of the Lord?
A) God promises restoration, and He is faithful who promised!
Here I quote LaGard directly: "Seasons come and seasons go. So do the passages of our lives. But Jesus Christ, the Faithful One, is the same yesterday and today and forever. With God there are no seasons. And because of that, there need be no season without God. "
Many of you will recognize this song that LaGard presents as a reminder:
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me!
I need Thy presense every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through clouds and sunshine, O abide
---Henry F. Lyte
"Since we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our minds, our one duty is to furnish it well." ~ Peter Ustinov