#365: The Turning

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Reflections by the Pond
October 20, 2008

The Turning

"For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."

Malachi 3:6

Autumn is upon us, here in the middle lands. The trees are donning their more festive garments, and the late-summer grass is garlanded with their faded castoffs. The air is clean and bright. Sunlight pierces with a sharper glow.

Gone are the leaden, dripping days of summer—saturated, heat-soaked days when breath comes hard and thin, and sweat is the steady attraction for flies and mosquitoes that plague the face and neck and exposed arms. Gone are nights lying awake atop the sheets, overhead fans humming in unison with amorous crickets and tree frogs.

Now the air is dry, evenings are cool, and blankets have been added to the sheets that cover our slumber.

And the trees are rejoicing. Gone are the monotonous monochromes of summer, the dark green against the light green against the even darker green. Now the country landscape vibrates with the cheerful autumnal shades of yellow and gold, red, umber and rust. It is as if, in their moments of dying, the leaves rush to give one final, emphatic, glorious stanza to their seasonal life-song.

Oh, summer certainly possesses its own beauty, and there are those misguided souls who would wish for it as a permanent condition. But, as a rule, they already live in California, or Arizona, and thus are not privy to what they are missing. Their body clocks have become confused by the undeviating shirtsleeve temperatures, and the resident trees that never lose their foliage. Poor souls, they have forgotten, or have never known, the exultant symphony of true seasons.

° ° °

"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
Which I have reserved for the time of distress,
For the day of war and battle?
Where is the way that the light is divided,
Or the east wind scattered on the earth?
Who has cleft a channel for the flood,
Or a way for the thunderbolt,
To bring rain on a land without people,
On a desert without a man in it,
To satisfy the waste and desolate land
And to make the seeds of grass to sprout?
Has the rain a father?
Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb has come the ice?
And the frost of heaven, who has given it birth?
Water becomes hard like stone,
And the surface of the deep is imprisoned."

Job 38:22-30

In just about every aspect of living, change is inevitable. And, for the most part, we like change. We like to try a different dinner dish once in a while. We like to go shopping for new clothes in the latest style (even if the latest style is the same that we wore back in high school).

God is the author of change. He has ordained the seasons, and the weather within them. He is the artist who paints the greens that refresh us after winter's freeze, and He is the one who splashes the rainbow colors that set the coda to the end of summer heat.

But none of this means that He changes.

Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands.
They stand this day according to Your ordinances,
For all things are Your servants.

Psalms 119:89-91

° ° °

What would it be like to have a changeable and changing God? We would rise every morning wondering if He were still there. We could never know His personality and ways, because they would change from day to day, from year to year. We would have no Bible, for what would be the point in reading of a God who was most certainly different from who He was when being written about centuries earlier.

A changeable God could change His mind. "Yes, I know that's what I told you before, but I've reconsidered. I've changed my mind about that." So whereas He once said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me," now He could say, "Now this is the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by doing this."

If God were inconstant, the words of Jesus would then be darkly cynical.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall."

Matthew 7:24-27

If God were inconstant, there would be no "rock" upon which to build our house, and Jesus' teaching would be just a sick joke.

° ° °

But God is not inconstant. He does not change. Neither do His teachings.

Seasons pass from one to the next, and the God of their creation paints them from the riches of His imaginative, extravagant palette. The most creative artistic mind is not even in the same league with the Artist who crafts the glorious shades of autumn. But the Artist Himself never changes.

We can rise every morning knowing that God is in His heaven, that His words are as faithful and true today as they were before time itself, and that the person, personality, and teachings of our Lord Jesus are utterly dependable.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:16-17 nkjv