It’s in the moments where the autumn sun slips below the horizon, gently reaching through the trees with the last of its golden rays and transforms the sky from a warm, rosy shade to cool indigo. The breeze moves the still air, and the first glimmer of starlight comes into focus. The day making way for the night. One of those transitions we become so accustomed to, but when we slow down to listen, to watch the unraveling of the day, it’s full of a rare, captivating beauty. Sometimes we just forget to look.
There’s nothing like transitions and seasons of change to test the boundaries of our faith and challenge the way we see the world. I’m in one of those in-between seasons right now. It’s called college graduation. I love planning, but I also love the adventure of the unexpected. This year, the planning side of my brain wants some concrete answers about the future. Just eliminate the bumps and roadblocks altogether and get to the smooth sailing, summer sun, and wind in my hair.
That’s how I felt for most of the summer at least. I was ready for something easy, just to skip over the tension and decisions. I was living in those future moments instead of fully soaking up the growth that was happening in the present. Learning to live daily with purpose and passion and intentionality. That’s what I really needed.
Once, I heard someone say. “So often we try to take from God’s hand the things that He is willing to give us so freely if we were only to ask.” I feel like this is my tendency when I have questions about the future or am walking through times where my dependence on God is truly tested. It’s so easy to make plans, but often God’s call is that we surrender. Lay down our plans, and seek Him first. Not our ideal life circumstances, not things that are easy, not skipping over difficult things or people in favor of smoother seas. Because often the ideas and goals I have don’t lead me to the places where I depend on Jesus wholly or see God’s love for me through others. God is teaching me something about this.
Surrendering control, expectations, and living wholly in dependence on God is not easy. Our default mode is planning, structure, and looking for the easy way out. Honestly, I’m grateful that I don’t often walk this path because that’s where true adventure and freedom and a beautiful way of living are traded in for commercialized, packaged, and empty pursuits.
I love when C.S. Lewis says, “We are far too easily pleased.” We settled for so much less joy than we were created to experience for fear that if we depend completely and wholly on God and His purpose, that it will somehow fall short. If we could only see how relentless the love of God is for us even when we have settled, even when we don’t believe, even when we trade in His love for plans and promotions, success, and approval.
Hosea 6:1-3 says, “Come, let us return to the Lord. For he has torn us, and he will heal us; he has wounded us, and he will bind up our wounds. He will revive us after two days, and on the third day he will raise us up so we can live in his presence. Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.”
Through the wounds and the waiting, unfaithfulness and doubt, our grip on control and recognition, and even in wandering and weakness, our God pursues us with unrelenting love. He wants our whole hearts, devotion, and trust. So often, we have to be trained by His restless pursuit of us. So often we settle, but His love never changes. God is not like us. When we are unfaithful or feel cold and distant, His love comes near and draws in deeper with the call to look.
Sometimes change calls us to greater faith, deeper love, or a soul restoration. We miss so much by trying to skip these moments, the ones where are deepest desires and strengths and weaknesses show up. The ones where our lack of trust seems overwhelming. Because it’s in these transitions that God is showing us some rare beauty. A little bit like the autumn dusk. Something we might miss if we don’t look.