Falling Leaves/Rising Faith

” Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake .” (Deut. 31:6)

This autumn as the leaves turn colors and fall, there is a striking awareness of the reactions that individuals have towards a change in the season. Ah… what a simile, one faces changes in life as if they were autumn leaves .  When changes arise, to some the colorful  beauty of God’s splendor  comes to light; while others only see leaves falling and dying. But how does this correlate to our text? There are times when one sees changes in life as leaves falling and dying. Feelings of falling, opposition, suppression, depression, fear, struggling, disappointment, shame, guilt, frustration etc. have clouded the colorful beauty of God’s splendor in the situations that brought about such emotions.

However, there is no need for one to feel like the only person to experience reactions of this nature during trials.  Our scripture begins with… ” Be strong and courageous” thereby reminding us that during testing times such feelings of fear and terror are not unusual. In fact the  Apostle Peter addressed this point when he wrote “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes on you to test you, as though it were something strange happening to you. “(I Pt.4:12)  These two biblical quotes are statements of RISING FAITH. Together they encompass two key elements of faith. .. “be hearers and doers ” of the word. ( James 1:22)  With this in mind, a view of today’s Scripture from the perspective that it  prompts us to acknowledge our feelings honestly can also add enlightenment. Deut 31:6 does this by revealing even the most fearless person faces times when one feels neither strong nor courageous. Hiding emotions can cause one to fall further into mental unrest rather than fall to the majesty of God and enter the strength and beauty of His sanctuary. This reluctance to turn to God for emotional healing and transformation often surfaces in an inability to see the Lord’s splendor nor believe the possibilities of what God can do. As you probably recall, this form of spiritual distress was evidenced when Peter denied Christ due to fear. However, as with Peter, falling leaves of various emotions do not have to lead to spiritual death. Falling leaves can lead to RISING FAITH.  Acknowledge feelings honestly, openly express inner turmoil to self and God. Confession can purify, heal, save and with counseling purposes can be established. There is no need to stay afraid or terrified. Wow! The colorful splendor of God is awesome! Our word today, reveals that through honesty we discover living grace.

Most importantly, “Our help comes from the Lord”. (Ps.121:2) as with our text, this verse encourages us to look to God, His Holy Spirit, His Word. C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know that we are not alone.” Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said “… behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20) As we turn to the Lord we become strong and courageous because our strength, courage, protection, guidance,  provision, healing, all come from the Lord who is with us. As we open His Word and our communication with the Lord, He opens our eyes and increases our faith that the battle is not ours, but God’s.  We are able to have strength and courage because we  become strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. (Ephs 6:10)  It is then that we see the colorful beauty of God’s splendor in the situations that brought about such emotions.  We begin to see that the trial, the affliction, is only for a moment. And in it we will experience God’s work for us and His far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (2 Cor 4:17) “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 .” (Deut. 31:6)

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Von Crigler

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