It’s that time of year when I begin to sense a shift. Even though it’s not officially fall, pumpkin latte selfies are on the verge of being the rage. Back to school pictures on Facebook pop up in my feed, I find it really is the time to stock up on school supplies, and I see, once again, that I really do get the drive to homeschool again. I’m willing to bet that most of us are ready for a new season with pantries filled with pumpkin pie filling and pins of fallish recipes handy. I do love this time of year, but with it comes the loss of the carefree days of summer. I love warm sunshine, colorful gardens and long days. Everyone else seems to have moved on with their pumpkin spice in hand, but I’m still mourning the loss a bit!
At the beginning of this new season, I get a surprise. Seemingly, overnight, green stalks shoot up out of the ground. Maybe…summer isn’t quite over yet. Within about forty-eight hours my yard is laced with beautiful surprise lilies. And this hymn, William Cowper over two hundred years ago haunts me each time I see them…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuZ4z7Uu7RU (love this version!)
Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.
Tomorrow can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.
Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.
-William Cowper, 1779
While I mourn the loss of summer, at the same time I welcome a new season. Perhaps these lilies are not just a farewell to summer, but a mark of the beginning of a new season. For that I am grateful, for I’ve watched my fair share of tears fall from the cheeks of broken hearted people this summer. When one of my best friends died about a month ago, I was reminded that the joy of Christ comes quickly as we turn to Him.
How is it that in the midst of life’s greatest losses, we experience an inner peace and even, dare I say it, joy?
It is the light of the world and it is one of the ways I know He’s real!
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” -John 8:12
He moves in our hearts to celebrate loved ones who loved Him. We remember their faith and their love for Him and others.
He moves in our hearts to take joy in our future hope of eternal life with Him in a new heavens and new earth where he will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4).
He moves in our hearts to take joy as we meditate on truths about who He is and who we are in Him.
When was the last time you sensed the Lord surprise you with His joy in the midst of a challenge, frustration or loss in this life?
I pray that if you, dear reader, are challenged in your faith or feeling like you’re in a dark season, that the Lord would surprise you with joy in His truths by His Spirit. I am confident He will do that if you cooperate with Him.
How can we cooperate with Him in this?
He never fails to surprise me when I read His Word, pray, and sing hymns and praises.
What about you? Are there ways that you cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work in your life?
Sometimes the light surprises the Christian when seasons are changing and shorter darker days are coming; like these surprise lilies do on the morning they first appear.
Psalm 27:1-“The Lord is my light and my salvation…”
Linking up with these lovely bloggers this next week: