He Restores my Soul: a reflection on this season of the year
Autumn has arrived and schedules have changed. Children have moved up into a new class; college students are wondering how their work load has piled up so fast; and life continues on without break for most people. But however congested the day planner becomes, Creation continues in the rhythmic cycle established by the One who stands outside of time. As Scripture so often reminds us, we must look up to the heavens and out to Creation and see, taste, hear, smell what God is saying to us. The winds are shifting; the leaves are turning; old things are falling to the ground; the harvest is being ingathered; and the appointed feasts of the Lord are upon us.
As I meditate on the season, my mind goes back and forth between the Jewish Fall Feasts and the celebration of the Reformation. In the month of October, with the early onset of Halloween decorations filling the stores and scary movies on every TV channel, we seem to be surrounded by the celebration of death; but October 31st is also Reformation Day, and the inscription on the Reformation Wall in Geneva (“Post Tenebras Lux,” “After Darkness, Light”) is a fitting reminder of the reality of our hope.
The feasts are God’s appointed times to meet with His people. And the primary mark of the Reformation is for all people to have access to read the Scriptures in their own language, to have direct access to the Word of God; indeed, to the Word Himself. The Father wants to spend time with us. He wants to show us things on His heart and speak to us. What a picture we see in that while the world is bound in darkness and fear, the Lord has taught us to celebrate new life, redemption, and provision.
As more believers discover the rich heritage of the Biblical feasts and are learning to incorporate them into their family’s lives and traditions, it is important to remember that the very heart behind them is Love. A true holiday is a holy day, or perhaps we could say, a day to be whole. This is Abba’s heart for His children. And a holiday is not to vacate your mind, but to re-fire it. It is not a reward for your hard work, nor a pity for your failures. It is a gift of God and an opportunity to come more alive. A holy moment (no matter how short or long) is a window into the eternity of our God. Take those moments and enter them fully. Let every moment, day, or season He gives you be just that—a gift. Cherish that gift and enjoy it fully.
He is our Good Shepherd, and it is in His heart to restore our souls. When He leads us to still waters, we need to stop and take a drink. As with every Shabbat, there is a moment of choosing: “Will I follow the Shepherd and enter into the rest He is providing for me in safety, or will I try to find my own way?” Either way, you will at some point stop for rest; but will it be in the green pastures of Your Savior, or in a thicket of lurking wolves? We need the Shepherd, and we can trust Him. He will provide for us the good works to walk in and we don’t need to fear for our hands to hang limp. He will also provide for us the shelter of His wings and we don’t need to fear the enormity of any task.
What do we do if we have gone our own way and now feel our body, soul, or spirit shriveling like the last brown leaves clinging to a shivering tree? God is great in mercy, and that mercy is new every morning. I believe in both our busiest and slowest of days, God always provides time to meet with us if we will pay attention.
I feel that this is a season for new days; not just for me, but for everyone. These are days of great labor, a time for the determination to work hard and be fully committed to the task. They are also days of great joy, of new beginnings, of new mercies with each morning. And these are days to come alive, to birth something in our hearts that can only be called life—drinking from the River of Living Water.
By keeping these appointed times with God, we honor Him and position ourselves to receive from the richness of His presence. And by allowing Him to be our Shepherd always, wherein every day we long to be with Him, even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil. And every day of our lives we shall keep company with goodness and mercy (Psalm 23).
Give priority to His appointments; and when a holy moment captures your attention, turn aside to it. Capture the moments that captivate you. Fear not to peer through the windows you discover and gaze into eternity.