This Is My Father’s World

September and October mean autumn here in the forested hills of Western Pennsylvania. I anxiously await that season each year, – azure skies, crisp air, flaming foliage, a gentle breeze and a hot cup of apple cider.

Too soon, it is a memory and the realities of a new season loom.
Yet no matter how cold and snowy the coming winter may be, or how wet and muddy the spring that follows or how hot and dry the summer after that, it never occurs to me that there will not be another autumn.<br /We never imagine for a moment that the parade of seasons that mark the passage of time could or would be interrupted or postponed.

Why is it then that we are often too willing to accept that when the seasons of our lives change that there is no hope of better and brighter days ahead?
When cold or stormy or gloomy days descend, our heads droop, our shoulders sag and we become convinced that there is no hope that this season will pass.

A passage from the Bible familiar to Christians tells us that, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”
That is the first verse from the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes. The next seven verses enumerate those seasons: Birth and death, planting and plucking, killing and healing, breaking down and building up, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, casting away and gathering, embracing and letting go, seeking and losing, keeping and casting away, rending and sewing, remaining silent and speaking, loving and hating, making war and peace.

While I find comfort in that catalogue of the seasons of our lives, more importantly I find assurance in the conditional part of the first verse – “for every purpose under heaven.”
All I need to know is that God has ordained or allowed it, and He has a purpose for it. I may not understand it and He is not obligated to explain or justify it to me. But I accept it.

That is not a lesson that is easily learned. I shared some of my difficult seasons in the book “He Was There All the Time.” Hindsight allowed me to appreciate how good God is … and assure me that He not only was there but always will be there.

It is in the coldest, stormiest, gloomiest days of our lives when we must “be still and know that He is God.”
This is, after all, our Father’s world.

This is my Father’s world,

And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world:

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–

His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world:

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world:

He shines in all that’s fair;

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,

He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world:

O let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the Ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world:

Why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!

God reigns; let the earth be glad!

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