Drenching rains, fallen leaves washed into sodden piles, fog creeping up the meadow and lingering among the pines. Autumn is here and Halloween fast approaching. When I look out across the meadow in the mornings as I’m driving the boys to the bus stop, I often see wisps of morning mist drifting through the bony fingers of the bare aspen groves with creepy eloquence. It gives me the same kind of thrilling chill as reading an Agatha Christie novel on a dark evening with a cup of warm tea in hand. But there was a time and place when people were truly frightened as the days made their steady march toward October 31st.
Monday may be just an excuse to eat a whole lot of chocolate, wear a pirate costume, and throw bean bags through a painted piece of plywood in the church parking lot, but this fall I find no shortage of things to be frightened of.
As I eschewed sleep to nurse a beloved pet chicken and then held a heartbroken boy after his favorite pet had died, I realized something anew. Anyone who chooses to love must live with fear. What if that puppy you waited for all year gets out and is hit by a car? What if a dog gets into the chicken pen and kills your pet hen? What if that case of Mono your oldest child came down with is actually Leukemia? What if your husband gets into a car wreck or your wife meets a grizzly bear on her way to the outhouse during vacation? You laugh, but as we enjoyed the marvels of Yellowstone this summer, the thought did cross my mind. But the fears don’t stop there. What if you lose your job? What if terrible laws are passed? What if terrible laws remain? What if the economy crashes? What if we end up like our brothers and sisters all over the world and face persecution? What if it rains? What if it doesn’t rain? What about earthquakes, volcanoes, and tornadoes?
There have always been plenty of things to fear, from random peril to genuine evil, the world has been a dangerous place for a long long time.
It rained all morning, but now the showers are letting up. The forest still lies in a dreary shroud, but we need not wrap ourselves in fear. Autumn is one of my favorite times of year, despite the spooky weather. The quiet insistence of a rainstorm gives one time to think, to mull, to consider, and to seek God. The long nights push families to stay in and play board games together. The nippy weather reminds us to prepare for the winter to come and to be thankful for all the blessings that have been given. But more importantly, God Himself, has given us reason to step out from under the cloak of fear and to trust.
Luke 12:4, 6-7—“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more…Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
John 10:10—“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 12:46—“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
Philippians 4:6-7—“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”