I love the fall season! Sunny crisp mornings, comfy warm blankets, fire pits and marshmallows are among my favorite things. Pumpkins, autumn spices, and the beautiful New England fall foliage fill the senses with delight. The change in temperature beckons in air with a sweet musty smell and when the wind picks up to shower leaves on my head there is an earthy scent that somehow comforts me. These are just a few of the blessings of the season that I look forward to each year. This year I found myself especially embracing the start of the fall season, promising myself to never again take for granted the simple pleasures of life.
Since the beginning of the pandemic I have heard from many of my friends and family about different difficulties they have experienced; this virus adding a new level of stress and fear to very air we breathe. I have also felt stretched as I battle fear, regret, anxiety and insecurity. I cry out to the Lord, seek godly wisdom from friends, and say prayers, sometimes sprinkled with distractions. This coronavirus has stolen much from our society and has changed many individuals. Bitterness, anger, suffering and pain have been displayed in such magnitudes that leaves one pause to wonder, what next? This illness has left a path of death and destruction; pandemic exhaustion has stollen hope and joy.
Tauren Wells, in his recent sermon at Elevation Church entitled “The Year I Saw” discussed the beginning verses of Isaiah chapter six. It is the story from Isaiah’s perspective of when King Uzziah* died. He came to power when he was just sixteen years old and it is written that “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Chron. 26:4). He sought the Lord, rebuilt Jerusalem, commanded a powerful army and cared for his people. His reign lasted fifty-two years! But toward the end of his reign, he became prideful and chose to go against God. Yet in the year that strength died, Isaiah saw the Lord and willingly answered his call to ministry. The vision is a beautiful picture that leaves me in awe.
Do you feel that your strength has died? Do you feel you cannot dare to hope? Do you feel that God has left the building? Paul tells us of his pleading with the Lord in his second letter to the Corinthians. God replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9a). In 1 Peter 5:6-7 it is written “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” And in Deuteronomy 31:6 we are told “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Between today and tomorrow, tomorrow and the next, no one knows what the future holds. We can rest assured that God is Sovereign; the Scriptures are replete with stories that remind us that we have a loving God who cares for His people. I don’t always understand Him and I think that is o.k. To persevere in faith in times like these is to give nourishment to your soul. To finish his sermon, Tauren Wells stated “it may not be the year that we saw but it can be the year that we saw also the Lord.” Dear friends, let it be so.
*The name Uzziah means strength