Autumn in the Desert Southwest is a time for exhalation. The incessant summer heat has passed—and we have survived.
We have been transported through a window of favor. There is sunshine to smile at not hide from.
The Rock Wren’s bounce shouts joy while the Mourning Doves careen on breezes that beckon—beckon us to begin those projects 110° heat kept us from.
Fall wildflowers grace us with their pink and yellow faces: Amaranth, with its lazy spires, sticky-stemmed Trailing Allionia, and Desert Marigold beaming up at us, delightful as an obedient child.
Even our landscape plants perk up and look more like their magazine counterparts.
Autumn gives us a break. A release and a remembrance of why we love it here.
But with the pause comes a sense of urgency, a heedfulness, as we note the light fades sooner each night (sunset already?)
There is so much that needs to be done in our newly compressed days, both physically and spiritually.
We need to sweep clean anything contrary to the Spirit of Christ that may have crept in over time. Strip off the doubts and worries that cling like sticky weed to the soles of our shoes.
Ask for the strength and determination we need to bestow our complete trust at His feet like a free will offering of old.
Complete trust in God is seeing beyond what is—to what will be.
It is seeing through the haze of the bleached summer sky to behold autumn’s vibrant blue. That intense blue we forgot about but was there all along, like our ever-present God waiting to shine in the lives of those who trust Him.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5
The autumn breezes change tempo each week: first slow, then twirl, then run and LEAP, then slow once more in an ethereal dance of desert glory.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. Hebrews 3:14
Autumn in the desert Southwest is our second spring. But a spring without the frigid gales coming from behind winter.
The mounding daisy-like Viguera draws insects with its honeyed scent. Pungent yellow Pectis spills like paint on the canvas of the desert floor and the bright yellow buttons of the tiny Wholly Daisy are scattered like throw-rugs in the dirt. What a grand sight! (But woe to those with allergies.)
Maroon tufts of feathery Purple Muhly grass dot the landscape along with the blue-green Burr Sage and the coral-orange Globemallow.
The land is awash with color and purpose that may have gone unnoticed for most of the year.
And the plain brown moth that entertained us last spring is back again ricochetting off lampshades and trying to morph into our TV’s. The muffling sound their bronze wings makes on the windowpane at night are not unlike our own attempts to live life without full surrender to God. We expend a lot of energy but keep bumping into the same barriers making no progress at all.
Why isn’t this working?—bump.
I can do this on my own—bump.
I want it to happen this way—bump.
Without trust in God, we are like moths smacking the glass. We expend a lot of energy but make no progress at all.
Fixed in a place of our own making; it’s no wonder we keep smacking the glass. No matter how hard we try to squeeze reality into our notion of what is best for us, without God doing the shaping, we end up with a squashed mess.
But when we keep our gaze fixed on the Author and Finisher of our faith, all the fears and doubts—those coyotes yip-yipping in the distance—can’t pack up and encircle our lives and frighten us into making decisions based on feelings.
He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Psalm 3:5-6
Autumn in the desert is both a relief and bittersweet.
Those waving grasses that sprang up overnight, Muhly, Gramma, and Rye, will dry up just as fast.
The Queen caterpillars rush to gorge on green, their transformation mere weeks away.
The air is filled with the drone of various bees desperate for gold dust before the flowers turn to seed. And highways of marching ants stockpile for the days ahead.
What God has put in the time clock of nature, He has put before us too. But sometimes, all we want is to stay comfortable where we’re at. In a perpetual autumn. A place where we can claim control.
But to stay is stagnation.
Only as you and I trust and grow and look beyond ourselves can we attain greater heights on wings of faith. We reap the fruit of the choices we make whether we follow an emotionally-driven doctrine of self or the straight paths of the Word of God and thereby feed the next generation by our example.
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Hosea 10:12
So as we pick the last of our garden harvest and watch the Red-tailed Hawks, in playful arcs, sail the clear sky above, let us thank God for this land and our place in it.
The brush of air on our skin whispers winter but now the once-sweltering garage needs a thorough cleaning, the front porch cries for paint, and as we tackle that roof job we’ve avoided all summer, let us hold tight to the knowledge that no matter where we are, or what is placed before us each day—with God at the center of our lives—we are right where we ought to be.
Our purpose is sealed in Him.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. Ephesians 1:13
Abiding in the Vine,
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The post “The Light Fades Sooner Each Night” first appeared on Desert Rain.