The door to summer closed with a distinctive ‘click’ yesterday. Some years, depending when the first day of school starts, you can wind it out a few stolen hours longer, but this was not one of those. I felt the impending autumnal turn for the last week. It’s been rainy and overcast; cool with the warning wind of an altering season. The green leached out of lawns and trees, and the yellow started impertinently blazing through. All the breezy, wanton ease of fading summer moments suddenly shriveled, and the entire rhythm contracted into order with the abrupt insistence of a boot-camp reveille. New gear shift; ready or not here I come, the children’s taunt.
The name of the game is focus. A Google definition of the word reads “the center of interest or activity, the point of origin, the principal site; the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.” That’s the function of September. Even if you’re not attending University or have school-aged children, you feel the buzz. I made the mistake of going into Winner’s last Sunday afternoon and the incensed motion of a wasp’s nest under attack had nothing on that crowd. They were focussed! I took one long measure and prudently withdrew.
The older I get, the more I respect and prioritize the ability to perceive the turning of the seasons. I’m not talking about simple weather; I mean the periods of life that demarcate significant transitions and life investments. Some, we feel we control, but some we do not. When the Lord said “To everything there is a season”, He wasn’t kidding. In an ideal world, we would be in agreement with what God has ordained for us at a certain time. This is a spiritual discipline that must not be underestimated. You’ve got to be awake at the wheel or you’ll end up in metaphorical ditches. Not only that, it’s possible to miss huge benefits and benefactions by being sluggish or perverse in embracing the signs. The portents preceding breaking change are not always like a gentle nudge guiding the toddler; sometimes, they’re a rude, stinging slap that deeply offends us. Having some kind of ‘heads-up’ mitigates the pain.
For this very reason, the prophetic becomes utterly precious. Our spiritual ‘seventh-sense’ will save our skin. When we listen and hear the intimations of God’s spirit speaking within us or through devotional times in the word, it saves us incalculable trouble. Not only does a prophetic rhema pin-point our attention to morphing conditions, it loads the dice in our favor by informing us what they are going to hold. Then, we are told how to navigate profitably. This is God’s blessed tip-off to us: insider information gleaned from private consultations with the Omniscient. Not even Satan is privy to the warning of providence, so we can even be one step ahead of that bloodthirsty wolf.
Have you ever grasped the idea that you can have a secret counsel with the Almighty? There, you can pour out your hopes, fears and grievances, but you can also listen, and receive an imprinting of His Spirit upon yours. He will lead you through tricky and treacherous passages. You are not abandoned to an uncertain fate. He’s the Captain of your soul.
Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:4,12-14
Back in May, I felt the strong touch of the Lord, directing me to spend the summer diligently laying down the first draft of my third book. I felt urgently that I must be finished by the beginning of September. Consequently, I put my nose down to the grindstone and went at it hard. It’s not really the way you want to spend a summer, but I’ve been here before, so I did what I was told. Faithfully, I hammered away at the quarry, trying to lay down a minimum of 1500 words a day. A ridiculously high goal, I know, but I shot for it nevertheless. (If Hemingway can do it, I can do it!). Good thing, because this endeavor was a doozy. The first two books I wrote went easily, as they had been based around Bible Study teachings already composed, but this brain-child was entirely different. The mental struggle of this far more complex opus was like trying to diaper a baby octopus…not sure which leg to tackle first, or how it joined to the whole. I was truly perplexed. I floundered, floated and flew in alternate jags of creative bottleneck or brilliance, but I stayed focused. As I come into September on the finishing passages, the blessed end is in sight. OK, Lord, what now?
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. John 15:14-16
We’re not just slaves to be commandeered to a Tyrant God. We are His friends! He’s waiting for our consent, enthusiasm and participation. He wants what is best for us, far past our wildest dreams or comprehension.
It’s time to focus. Adjust your lens to the proper depth of view. What does the Lord have for you right now? What season is your season? Instead of foolishly
fighting the tide, get into the flow.