For some reason, many people view the season of fall as a season of comfort. People love to get their hooded sweatshirts out of the drawer, pull on their sweat pants, smell the scent of burning leaves, and drink pumpkin spice lattes. Have you raked your leaves yet? Here in Milwaukee, Saturday was the perfect day to do just that. I wore a comfortable pair of shorts and a long-sleeved t-shirt.
You can find comfort in any season by trusting in two incredible promises of God. Moses is 120-years-old, and about to turn over leadership of Israel to Joshua. In the late fall of his life, he addresses all of Israel. It is his desire to provide comfort and promise for the people of Israel as they are about to enter the promised land. “Be strong and courageous,” he says. “Do not be afraid or terrified because of (your enemies), for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
He will never leave you nor forsake you. Those sound like two “fall” promises to me.
- He will never “leaf” you. Leaves start their lives as minty green little sprouts bursting from a tree. They grow and flourish and live a lively and breezy life all summer. Then fall comes and their color changes. Their grip to the branch begins to loosen. Before you know it they’re hanging on by a thread. When they just can’t hold on any longer, they let go and float softly to the ground. When we, like leaves, are dead in our sin and fall to the ground, our heavenly Father gently cradles us in His hand and grafts us back into the Branch. It is when we are connected to the Branch that we receive the sap of life. We are forgiven, new, and renewed. He will never “leaf” you on the ground.
- He will never for- “rake” you. At our house we get to simply rake our leaves into the street, where the city comes by late at night, sweeps them away, and incinerates them. When we rake our leaves into the street we abandon them. We wash our hands of them. We are happy to see them taken away and burned. Because He loves us, God never rakes us away and abandons us. Instead, He abandoned His own Son. On the cross. Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was raked into the depths of hell so that those who trust in Him will never be. He is with us whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, whether we feel we need Him or not. He will never for- “rake” you.
Just before Jesus ascended into heaven He made a mandate that included a promise. He said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). In making disciples by baptizing and teaching, Jesus is with us “to the very end of the age.”
Whether you are Moses or Joshua, Mary or Martha, a botanist or a gardener, God will never “leaf” you or for- “rake” you. He is with you always to the very end of the age, to provide forgiveness, life, and salvation.
What is it that reminds you of God’s presence in your life?