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  • Writer's pictureHope Stuart

HOPE in the FALL

I hate to admit it but… as soon as the weather turns cooler and the color of the leaves change, I begin to perseverate on the thought of raking. Last year, I tried to look at the process of raking leaves as a form of exercise. However, after the fifth straight day of “exercising” with my rake, I was ready to call a landscaper to book a fall cleanup. So, as I sat on my porch today enjoying the beautiful sun dancing among the trees, a familiar moment of dread reared its ugly head. A cloud of leaf raking began to overtake my view of the beautiful blue sky sprinkled with rays of sunshine.

Thank goodness (“Godness”) God came to my rescue and provided a different, yet profound perspective. With His help, I saw the leaves with new eyes. I began thinking about trees… how they never stress about the season they are in. Their leaves change colors without a shred of worry. They lose their leaves without a care in the world. Trees don’t fret about whether they will grow new leaves in the spring; despite the fact that leaves are their primary food source. And… when they have completed their leaf growing, they don’t lose their peacefulness in the midst of storms or their joy in bouts of drought.

As I sat there, admiring the trees with fresh eyes, I realized I could learn a thing or two from trees. While trees don’t struggle to produce leaves, they also aren’t afraid to let them go. Trees seem to be completely at peace with the transformation that occurs in the FALL. The colors change and the leaves FALL, with no anxiety from the tree at all (couldn’t resist a time to rhyme!). Putting aside my AMAZING ability to rhyme for a moment… am I the only one sensing the spiritual analogy associated with FALL?

As we FALL, regardless of the season, we should channel our inner tree. No matter the season or trial, we should let go and let God. We need to let go and let God’s will for our lives take root, like a tree lets go of their leaves. Just as a leaf FALLS to the ground, we should FALL into our Father’s loving arms. From the words of Isaiah 41:10, we are reassured as we FALL: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. As we FALL into His hands, we can choose to fight it OR surrender it ALL to Him. The former Hope would choose to fight… the current Hope chooses to surrender. I attribute this change in response to my maturity (keep the laughter inside your head… please!).

It’s in the surrendering, where we find our HOPE in God. Instead of hurrying and worrying, trying and crying, fretting and sweating, why not choose to live a surrendered life; rooted in God and HOPE? Instead of fighting our battles in our own power; struggling to keep all our leaves (otherwise known as baggage), why don’t we fight our battles on our knees? Instead of battling our earthly wars, why don’t we choose to “fight” with warfare prayer; leaving it ALL in God’s capable hands? When we FALL it ALL to Him, we find HOPE in each “triALL”.

As we allow God to fight our battles, we are comforted by His strength. When we are comforted by His strength, we live a surrendered life; trusting that He is fighting behind the scenes to work ALL things for good. As we trust in Him, we FALL into His will and find peace in His ways. When we are still, we allow ourselves to FALL into the HOPE that only comes from Him. As Exodus 14:14 reminds us: The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.

In 2 Corinthians 2:3, the apostle Paul calls God the “God of all comfort”. Did you know that the word comfort means “with strength”? Me either! Thanks to a passage about “comfort” in The Adrian Rogers Legacy Bible, I now have a greater understanding of this word and its meaning. (Thank you, Adrian!) God is our ultimate and ONLY source of comfort. He catches us as we FALL and ensures we will land where He wants us to be. In our FALLing (our weakness), He is there to support us with His comfort, His strength. Just take a moment to think about that. All those times we stressed and struggled, tried and toiled, worried and wailed… we just needed to FALL into His arms. Every. Single. Time. He isn’t just the God of comfort on Sundays; He is the God of comfort every day, every hour, every second. We just need to FALL into Him.

As I look out from my porch, I no longer see a burden in the work that is on the horizon.Instead, I anticipate the blessings that are yet to come.Through God’s eyes, we are able to see burdens as blessings.This is the essence of our HOPE in the One who created it ALL; yes, including every single leaf that FALLS.We CAN gain a ton of HOPE from the trees in our life.No matter what season we are in and what trial we are raking, oops… I mean facing… our Heavenly Father is there to catch us as we FALL.

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