On the Harvest Before the Hardest

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It is almost October now.

The end of the month of September is the end of Summer, and the beginning of the next season.

I am struck by the rapidity with which the leaves are changing their colors, as if they are quickly changing into shimmering gowns and dancing to the ground to celebrate the end of the summer season.

The air is a little bit thinner, as it slices its way to my fingers that are wrapped around a warm mug as I gingerly pick my way through throngs of other sweater-clad students on my way to classes.

Autumn. Such a beautiful season, the favorite season of so many people I hold dear to me.

Harvest. Such a beautiful, natural, bountiful season.

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I am reminded of a passage from the Word.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. A time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build,  a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time for war and a time for peace…

I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  He has made everything beautiful in its time…

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.”

There is a time for everything.

There is a time for Autumn, a time for Harvest.

There is a time to see God’s everlasting promises, and that’s the beauty of this Autumn season – His promises shown in the splendor of oranges reds golds purples. Harvest is the culmination of God’s promises to us.

Aside from seeing God in His creative glory and power through all the colors, the sounds, the flavors (thank you, Jesus, for pumpkin spice lattes), and through the way the season seems to bring people together in thankfulness and comfort…there is more. Praise Him, for there is always more.

Autumn, like the harvest bringing good food and stores for the winter, brings what He tells us…

…in Philippians, “I will meet all your needs according to the riches of My glory.”

…in Romans, “I work for the good of those who love Me.”

…in Deuteronomy, “I will never forsake you, nor leave you.”

…in Matthew, “I am with you always, even until the end of time.”

He is so good to us!

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To those who look at Autumn, at Harvest, as a reward for the labors put forth in the Spring and Summer, I have to ask –

Is the bountiful harvest a reward for our work, or a preparation for the winter ahead?

Winter is around the corner – the frost, the cold, the dead, the grey – it is coming.

And while Winter is beautiful in its own way, it is harsh and bitter and stark compared to the Autumn preceding.

And, readers, too often have I heard people proclaim that the harvest is a happy season but a mournful one, because it signifies that the summer is over.

But, readers, do you not see that He is giving us what we need to survive the winter?

We will never be led into winter without first receiving a bountiful harvest.

He will never toss us into the dead of night, the stark cold, without first giving us what we need to survive – to thrive!

He is so good to us!

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A professor of mine reads from the first chapter of Genesis and tells us He never creates anything before that which can sustain it!

He does not create the fish until He first creates the seas. He does not plant the seeds before He first enriches the Earth with soil. He does not create Eve before Adam, and He does not create Adam before the Earth is ready to receive him.

He does not create anything before that which can sustain it – and Harvest will always come before winter.

This, readers, is His first promise, the one He makes without speaking – He makes it simply by breathing, creating.

He promises that He will always provide.

He is our Sustainer.

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Autumn goes by another name. You all know it.

Why is it called Fall?

Because the leaves drop and the earth shudders into dreary slumber through winter, collapsing into hibernation after the long hard work of summer?

It sounds so much more glamorous to call the season Autumn – as if we can postpone the impending Winter simply by changing the name.

But remember another Fall, dear readers – the First Fall.

In a garden, lush and bountiful like the Harvest – they fell.

And yet see how we have been provided for since the beginning!

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There is a time for everything, readers.

A time to mourn? A time for war? A time to tear down?

These are not times that I look forward to.

In fact, I’m not sure I’m even adequately prepared to face these times.

Well, friends, that’s true – I’m not adequately prepared.

But I will be prepared before these times come.

We always harvest before it turns hardest.

We always receive blessings upon blessings before it becomes grey, bitter, empty.

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I am receiving blessings upon blessings this Harvest season.

A friend of mine just announced that she was returning to the Church to be confirmed this upcoming Easter – praise Him!

A fraction of my family just announced that they were seriously considering moving closer to me – laudate!

I know the winter is coming – be it simply the season outside or the season of my heart.

But I made it through the last winter, and it is Harvest again.

I’m quite sure, with God as my Savior, that I’ll make it through the next winter too.

Because He is so good to us!

(PS. One final blessing and praise – thank you, Jesus, for pumpkin spice lattes!)

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