"They sowed the fields and they planted vineyards and they ate from the fruit of their crops. He blessed them and they multiplied greatly and he did not diminish their cattle." ~ Psalm 107:38 (ABPE)
Here and now, by and large, near and far, people are worried about the pandemic.
We're worried about the health and wellness of our loved ones, the wellbeing of everyone the world over, truth be told. From a human nature and psychology perspective, that's absolutely appropriate.
We're concerned about the impacts of the shutdown on a local and global scale, the social unrest, the changes and influences of governing authorities; all of these things and more are causing our communal focus to drift occasionally to the worst, into worry, and sometimes as far as fear.
There's no doubt that in many ways we're walking through a wilderness season, in some ways a season of famine.
In times like this we don't often think of the harvest. Yet, in the calendar year, that's the season we're in.
Where I live, we had a few nights of early freeze a few weeks ago.
Miraculously, in the garden over which we toiled all spring and summer and now into fall, we took preventative measures and managed to get through it relatively unscathed.
Then, this last week, we had two more nights in the 20's. I don't know if it was the freeze itself or the measures we took to protect the plants, but we lost most of them.
Thus, I find myself in a bit of a forced harvest.
It's not the joyous event we think of when we read tales of literature, see movies, or even those to which we bear witness in the Good Book.
My poor plants are withered, the leaves are black with the aftereffects of frost, and still I gather where I can and what I can.
I assure you, it's not what I hoped for or expected.
The plants that were just about to go to seed are black, so there will be no replanting.
But, I have still been blessed with a bountiful harvest and I get to marvel at what grew. I get to stand in awe of Creation and how God crafted each of these plants to bear this fruit that will nourish my body. I get to bask in the gratitude of it all.
As I gather the harvest, even among the withered and dying plants, I choose to do so with childlike wonder, savoring the experience.
As we walk through this season in our communities, lives, and nations, all over the world, I think we can do the same.
Whatever is going on, whatever we're afraid of or worried about, whatever seems to be withering around us, we can choose to gather our blessings with childlike wonder.
We can do this because we know none of this is a surprise to our Heavenly Father.
We can do this because we know there is a season and a purpose to everything under heaven.
We can do this because we know we have a good and sweet Father looking out for us, working all things together...
We can do this because there is joy in the journey with Him, because we know we are in the palm of His hand, because we know the seasons will continue and there will be another spring and another harvest.
We can do this because our hope in eternity is sure and we have the certainty that we can do all things by the power of the Messiah who strengthens us.
Thank You, God, for helping us to revel in the joys, privileges, and blessings of being alive on Your earth, here and now.
Our presence on this planet today is no mistake, You don't make those.
So, thank You for helping us to savor the experience of blessings large and small, whether it's being out in the crisp autumn air drinking in Your presence and the gift of Your creation, being grateful for the monumental miraculous gift of new life in the eyes of a child, or something as simple as the taste of our meal, the smell of a rose, or how good it feels to wash our face.
Whatever the gifts, Father, thank You for helping us to revel in and savor your blessings, no matter the wilderness, no matter the storms, no matter the withered harvest.
THANK YOU, HEAVENLY FATHER, FOR YOUR MANY MANY BLESSINGS, GREAT AND SMALL. THANK YOU FOR GIVING US THE EYES TO SEE, THE AWARENESS TO TAKE NOTE, AND THE HEART TO GIVE THANKS.
The season of Sukkot has just begun. I wasn't planning to talk about it this year, though it is among my favorite of the Jewish holidays.
However, it celebrates the harvest, it acknowledges the forces of Creation, the forces of nature, and it remembers the Israelites in the wilderness as people build a temporary structure purposefully exposed to the elements.
That seems entirely appropriate to our discussion today and to the season in which the world finds itself, does it not?
Wandering in the wilderness, trusting in the Lord, honoring His Creation and the way the wheel of time turns, and giving thanks for our blessings?
On second thought, perhaps I was in the space of Sukkot all along.
May the person reading this be abundantly blessed. May the literal and metaphoric harvests in their life abound.
May they know Your strength and grace and peace. May they feel Your presence moment by moment.
No matter what they're walking through, may they be abundantly blessed in their ability to count the countless blessings You've placed in their life, set before them, and have in store for them.
Thank You, Heavenly Father for all the ways You're there for us, for your many many blessings and miracles, and for writing us into Your story.
Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
In the name of Your Son,
"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to distinguish between the day and the night, and let them be signs to mark the seasons and days and years...'" ~ Genesis 1:14 (BSB)
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." ~ Galatians 6:9 (ABPE)
"For seven days every Israelite must live in a shelter, so future generations will know that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God." ~ Leviticus 23:42-43 (CEV)
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace... He hath made every thing beautiful in His time:" ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (KJV)
"We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." ~ Romans 8:28 (CSB)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥