AUTUMN SPICE

Reflections

Most who know me know I am an avid runner. One of the first things many people ask me is how far I ran that morning, usually between a mile and a half and three miles on a good day. Although I keep track of it in my running journal, it is not so much about the quantity as it is the quality of the time spent with God. Lately, my runs have been shortened due to construction in my neighborhood. But since they don’t work on Saturday, I enjoyed my regular three-mile route in between homework assignments for what turned out to be a nice leisurely run on a crisp Fall morning.

Whether a mile or three, my communion time with God is a valuable part of my day; when I receive a message on top of it, it is like pouring a ladle of rich, savory gravy on an already succulent dish of mashed potatoes. Thinking of food, I could also relate it to a double dose of whipped cream piled on top of a sweet and creamy Autumn Spice milkshake from Chick-fil-A, which I have already had two of this Fall; one by surprise and one my choice. I think they knew what they were doing when they handed me that unsolicited milkshake a couple of weeks ago. When I said I hadn’t ordered it, they said you might as well take it. And who can resist that type of arm twisting when sitting in the drive-thru? And yes, I did go back last week and enjoy another one on purpose. No arm-twisting this time.

Sometimes, God surprises me with messages; like this one that can feel like getting a free milkshake with whipped cream on top. But even when I am working on a particular topic or processing what He gave me in my quiet time or Bible reading, I am always in awe of His gracious mercy and abundant provisions. He knows I depend on Him, and that is how He wants it. Although it is not always easy, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength’” (Isaiah 30:15, ESV). Emphasis mine

Let’s read that again as translated by The Message: “God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: ‘Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me’” (Is. 30:15, MSG). Emphasis mine

Isaiah was referring to Judah and their rebellion against God. They were stubborn and wanted to go by their plans. They put their trust in Egypt rather than God. Isaiah is getting to the heart of the matter by showing them where their strength comes from. In this context, ‘ returning’ means to repent, which leads to our salvation. The only true path to victory and peace is through quietness and trust. Even in this OT story about Judah’s rebellion, there is still a universal truth and principle for us to pay attention to. As we travel through this passage and on to the following verses, we see a picture of God’s almighty grace towards his people.

Despite our rebellion and serving other idols in our lives, we are still being shown an abundance of grace and mercy. This is a call to turn back to God, rest in His grace and the promise of salvation, in the quiet confidence of God’s strength. That is a solid dose of whipped cream on an already sweet and savory message and something worthy of reflection.