By Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer
This week marks the official turn of the seasonal clock to autumn, my favorite time of year. Crisp air, beyond-blue skies, migrating geese. Bugling elk (if you’re lucky enough to hear them) and outlandish aspen-gold draping the mountains. What a palette of sensory detail!
In my effort to capture quintessential Colorado, I planted an aspen tree in my backyard several years ago and have nursed it along ever since. My elevation of 5,500 feet is a little low for the quaking leaves that twist and turn in the slightest breeze due to their unique stem.
But I love them.
So do the deer.
During last year’s terribly dry summer, they destroyed the tree and its struggling partners that came in the original clump. Stripping the bark will do that. Biting off the ends of branches or breaking them is also deadly. No golden leaves shimmered in my backyard. The once-beautiful tree stood skeletal, mute testimony that “here be deer.”
And then I saw the new arrivals in late spring. They had slipped unnoticed through the ground cover, several feet away from the deceased patriarch. As aspen will do, roots pushed through the surface in a new stand. A dozen little trees popped up, many more than my original planting.
By summertime, the leaves were much bigger, healthier than those on the parent tree, and they lifted themselves like hands waiting to catch the sunshine.
I thought of Job.
As I stood looking out my dining room window, I considered how he lost everything, and yet everything was restored and even more so. The aspens reminded me of what God can do and does. How faithful He is. How reliable His promises.
The Old Testament prophet Joel wrote:
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
Yes, the Lord deals “wondrously” with us, whether our attackers are deer, or locust, or uncertain times. He is still God, and He restores us far beyond what we can imagine, down deep where it hurts most. “He restores my soul,” the Psalmist wrote (emphasis mine).
May we stand fast with our Lord in the aftermath of destruction, even if we don’t understand the timing or the reason. He is still faithful.
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life
more than the first.
~Life in the aftermath of destruction. Click To Tweet
Ella peeked around the horse’s muzzle. Perceptive, this earthy rancher. Unexpectedly so, in light of their first frenzied meeting. Hope and doubt nibbled two corners of her heart. In this setting, with this gentle horse, dare she reach again for what had once been a passion? She could certainly testify to the animal’s faithfulness. And to its owner’s.
She drew her hand back and folded her arms. It’d been nearly a year and a half since she’d ridden. And fifteen long, frustrating months of fighting pain and sorrow in equal portions. She’d endured countless doctors’ visits and recuperative exercises, yet her strength had not returned to its former proportions. She’d be a fool to try.
More than her thigh muscle had torn. More than her femur had broken. She’d lost a great portion of her heart as well. The dread of losing her bearings if she remained an invalid in her father’s home had driven her to this job with Selig Polyscope. The bold move was her bid for freedom and forgetfulness.
But a third, uninvited element quashed her hope. Stark fear shot to her throat with a twist. She couldn’t take such a chance in spite of this cowboy’s proven ability and offer to help her ride. Regardless of his sky-blue promise to—again—keep her from harm, she couldn’t trust him. ~A Change of Scenery
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