Early in the morning, before you can quite see the sun, but when there is enough light to see the growing sky and the branches of trees, an autumnal wind usually blows scurrying leaves across the pavement and a feeling of life into your soul. If I listen very intently, I can feel the energy in the atmosphere around me, the beating of my own heart, the urge to stride through the slight mist. These times, in the early morning, are the easiest times for me to pray. If I listen I hear nature’s chirps and calls, the wind in the trees, and I feel the air, see the sky growing golden and light blue. I feel closest to God, for I am reveling in the cycle of Life that he has created.
But this time is also dangerous to me, for it makes me want to be alone, to make myself solitary so I can think. It makes me want to grasp the early morning, to make it stay. Once, not very long ago, I hoped that perhaps God would make the sun still in the sky somewhere far away, so I could keep this early light to myself.
So easily we taint our God-given pleasures. We turn them into things that must stay, that must be present with us always. Our blessings become our gods, and we give, as I heard in a book the other night, our “living affection to dying things.” Things like nature serve a purpose, not only for the earth and the ecosystems they’re placed in—not only for the cycle of life but to enhance our appreciation of God and his masterful and intelligent design. It is not the things we enjoy that demand our love and our undivided worship, it is God.
We waste so much of our sorrow on these passing things because they’re passing. If our love and our faith and our entire being were implanted and embedded in God, then we would not have any sorrow to waste on passing things. Rather, we would see nature and all the other gifts and pleasures in life through the eyes of righteousness, and they become what they are: blessings. Enjoy your youth. Don’t lament because it’s passing (this is my biggest problem) but embrace the whole cycle of growing up. Enjoy your motherhood or fatherhood, your singleness or your married life, your old age. Embrace it and come to terms with it. Don’t weep because a time of your life you loved has passed, but keep on living with the assurance that you enjoyed it, and lived to the best of your ability, and now there is another adventure ahead of you. Even we are passing, these bodies we have now, and there’s nothing we can do about it. But our soul, the essence of our being, is eternal, and when we die, it will not linger on this earth to lament about lost pleasures. It will haste on its way, called to stand before God and give an account of that life it just left.
The only reason we have for rejoicing is that there is a God in the heavens who has loved his people enough to give his own life for them, in order that they might live. It’s because of this that we can laugh and sing and dance, that we can rejoice and be glad, that we can find joy in the blessings he has given us, and joy in him because of the assurance that we will one day be called into his presence. Don’t let the world shape your view of God, but let your belief in God and your faith shape your view of the world. For the world changes with its fashions and its phases, but God never changes, and that should be our greatest comfort: he is steadfast.