That’s right, people. It’s falltime in The Land of Ox (see what I did there?), arguably the most beautiful fall landscape this side of Narnia. Fall, aside from the smells and flavors that rouse my soul to sing, brings along some interesting phenomena. For example, everyone’s inner lumberjack steadily begins to stretch its brawny arms through the sea of flannel. What is it about fall that causes every living thing to bundle up in their thick plaid blankets with sleeves? I’m not sure, but I surely don’t hate it. Another thing, increased indie music obsessions, across the board. Lastly (well, maybe not the exhaustive last, but the last for this circumstance), warm beverages. I can’t tell you how many monogrammed coffee/tea/cider/whatever mugs I’ve seen in the weeks since the trees began to bleed fire from their branches.
And then, of course, there’s the fall trifecta affect – listening to somber indie music while you walk to class drinking flavored coffee and wearing your flannel blanket. Who could argue against that? It’s so unbelievably pleasurable to dodge falling leaves while Justin Vernon broadcasts to your soul just how content you are with your life.
Even more than that, however, I’m finding that the fuzzy sweater of dimly-lit corners knowing truth is far more contenting than anything Vernon might project into my ear in his sweet, sweet falsetto. For a long time, I’ve been seeking to know Jesus. Even more than that, I’ve been seeking how to seek to know Jesus – it’s not nearly as simple as I’d hoped. I’ve searched high and low for comfort, for stability and the feeling of familiar arms wrapping me up, safe and sound, but my search has proved fruitless in all areas but one: the cross of my Lord.
By a raise of hands, how many of you have been let down by something you once thought was “comfortable”. All of you? That’s what I assumed. Why is that? Sin. There are so many things to be said for these things, but really, that’s the problem. Sin. That’s why we’re let down by the friends by whom we longed to be known, by the attention we craved, by the grades we knew would fulfill us. I’ve seen soul after soul chase after empty skeletons that promised satisfaction, and not once has one of these skeletons delivered its promise.
C.S. Lewis has some things to say about this, and I’d like to share one of them with you:
It now seemed that the deepest thirst within him was not adapted to the deepest nature of the world
Your soul, whether you want to admit it or not, is longing, thirsting, begging for love, security, comfort. And, though making promises is risky (something David Noble taught me with grace) I’m going to do it anyway, right now. You will not find any of these things in this world. You won’t. That boy, that jacket, those friends, that weight, that gpa, that family portrait…nothing, none of it. You will be left out in the cold, damp light of a street lamp the instant the mirage gives way to actuality. I make that promise with confidence because I’m in a battle against worldly, inadequate “comforts”. I’ve been let down and let down and let down. But at the foot of the cross, I’m continually amazed at the bonds that so beautifully secure me to salvation and peace and eternal life.
Last night I had the immense privilege of watching one of my dear friends and brothers weep in front of a group of wide-eyed high school students while he lamented over the insecure eternity of some of the people he loved the most deeply, knowing that their lack of faith in the true Light (John 1), Jesus Christ, meant impending darkness.
But here’s the hope in all of this: Jesus was made to live, and die an excruciatingly uncomfortable death in order that we, His creation, could be welcomed into the arms of the Father, the true Comforter.
He (Jesus) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25)
So here’s my question: will you continue to turn to you roommates/boyfriends/success/money/future/control/you name it to find security? Or will you be welcomed into the family of God, a blanket warmer than flannel, more beautiful than Miami fall, more aromatic than hazelnut coffee and far, far more beautiful than Justin Vernon’s voice?
[photo credit: lauren szandzik – she rocks]