Death Comes in Beauty

Neshaminy Creek in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the Fall

I love the Fall.

First, the Fall is a delight for the eyes. Second, my two favorite spectator sports, Baseball and Football, end and begin in the Fall. Third, the Fall means cooler weather and longer times outside in the garden and evenings around a fire pit. God paints the countryside and neighborhoods with an explosion of red, yellow, orange, brown and green and the effect is dazzling.

But there is something else going on in the Fall below all the beauty, underneath the beauty. The leaves are dying. The flowers are dying. The vegetable garden is gone. Fall is the season of death. And yet, God who makes dead things live, is always at work even when we don’t see it.

A couple of days ago, I was talking to our oldest daughter who was feeling burdened by the bad decisions by others in a church she loves. Meredith was concerned for the pain that women she has built into are feeling hurt and betrayed by the decisions. On top of that, she has been asking leadership at the church for clarity and getting very little in return. She wants to help them make the biblical decision, and like all of us, it is frustrating when we see people make destructive choices.

So what does a father say to a daughter, faithfully holding to the truth and frustrated that her counsel is not being heeded. 

“Honey, we are rewarded for faithfulness, not effectiveness.
I’m proud of you.”


And that is a truth for all of us. 

Every day, we have to get up and do battle against the forces of darkness by putting on our armor and standing against the cultural tide of the age. Be faithful. Be true to Jesus. Do the next right thing and leave the results to God. The apostle Paul put it this way:

Ephesians 6:14-18 (ESV)

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Bunyan, writing of “Christian” doing battle with Apollyon put it this way:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>and I,
By dint of Sword, did quickly make him fly:

So, may we, living in a Fall culture, a dying culture perhaps heading toward a long winter, a culture that kills babies, murders innocent bystanders, plots violent solutions to disputes and keep putting on our armor, and wield the word of God as our always-ready weapon. May we find the beauty underneath and above what is happening around us.

May your Sword be ever drawn,
to fight the battle laid before
to vanquish foe and dragon brawn.
and rise victorious in celestials dawn.

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