Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hail Thou Once Despised Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Only two remained.
As I sat on my antique porch glider, I watched as two hummingbirds fought over the lone feeder hanging just outside my den window. Just a few days before, I had cleaned all my feeders, but I put back only one in the backyard. Just a few weeks before, a dozen hummingbirds had created a war zone in the back and side yard as they vied for nectar from the three feeders placed strategically around the yard. Now, everything was changing.
The next day would be first day of the autumnal equinox. The leaves on our four crepe myrtle trees were already turning and falling to the ground. The blooms had disappeared. Our first cool snap had arrived, dropping nighttime temperatures into the 40s Fahrenheit. I knew what would happen soon: the hummingbirds would leave. The cool temperatures would send them back where they had migrated from in southern Florida or Texas, USA, and, if not there, to Mexico or South America. This was the only thing about fall that I didn't enjoy. Everything else, I cherished.
I knew that in a few weeks, I would need to remove even this final feeder. Otherwise, a few hummers might hang around, get caught by the cold air, and perish before they made it back to their winter quarters. I wanted them back next year.
I couldn't help but think of the promise that God had made to Noah thousands of years before:
Genesis 8:22 – As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night. (NLT)
This was a promise that came after God had sent the great flood to destroy everything on earth, a promise of change, along with the promise never to send another flood like the one that Noah and his family had witnessed. Within the promise came a dual promise of change and consistency — two seemingly contradictory things. The seasons would consistently come, but within the seasons, change would happen: planting and harvesting, heat and cold, good times and bad times, but times to be grateful for, regardless.
Attributing the changing of the seasons merely to natural law causes us to miss a more important aspect: the sovereignty of God. Natural laws work only because God established them. While He can operate outside of them — after all, He is God — He usually chooses to show His power through their consistency, the changing of the seasons being one way.
I love the changing of the seasons — especially the change from summer to fall. But I've gone through a number of changes that I didn't care for — changes that have taken me to different places and disrupted me, like the changes that the hummingbirds undertake each year. People have left me, as the hummingbirds will. They moved. I moved. They died. I lived. They said goodbye to a relationship. I stayed.
Although the changes of life take us in many directions, those who follow Christ have one constant to anticipate and to be grateful for: heaven. All roads will one day come back together there. The changing will become changeless. Perfect atmospheric conditions, perfect relationships, perfect bodies, and perfect actions will greet us. But until then, I plan to enjoy — and perhaps endure — the changes that God sends my way.
How can we better see God in the changes of life?
Prayer: Father, open our eyes that we might see Your constancy during life's changes. Amen.