My favorite month has officially exited this year’s fall stage. As we say goodbye to October and hello to November, I keep thinking that October’s blaze-orange pumpkins and fiery-red leaves are meant to teach us. Just as April’s daffodils help us understand fading beauty’s purpose, October’s bursts of golden sunlight and flame-yellow treetops reveal something God wants us to know.
But what? What do we learn as one month ends, ushering in the newness of the next, which will then end, and usher in the newness of the next?
What does God declare — and we’re meant to be enriched by as we notice — through reliably changing months and consistent sunrises and predictable season changes?
For one thing, He signals to my finite mind that I can trust just that — His reliability and consistency and predictability. When I say goodbye to October and hello to November, I can know that until that Day when Jesus returns, seasons will continue to change and time will flow and the same glorious sun will daily rise and fall in my sky. I can know that God’s in charge. He’s purposeful. He’s reliable and consistent — both in His care for the ordered universe, and in His care for me.
God is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Consistency and then something else
But, as time marches on and we leave behind a beloved month, I’m reminded that God’s cycle of predictable seasons, needed for planting and growth and harvest, point not only to consistency, but also to change. And when that inevitable change results in the missing of a favorite month, I sense that God means to teach us just this:
Hearts on earth say in the course of a joyful experience, “I don’t want this ever to end.” But it invariably does. The hearts of those in heaven say, “I want this to go on forever.” And it will. There can be no better news than this. (J. I. Packer)
My heart softens as I read Packer’s words. He helps me to understand some of the why behind what I feel when I don’t want October to end. For in the experience of wanting-this-to-go-on-forever, and the inevitable sorrow felt when the joyful moment (or month) does end, something good happens:
I yearn for heaven. The place where joy will go on forever. And that’s really good news God wants us to remember.
So with a warmed and enlightened heart, I say goodbye October. Welcome November.