Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

How Quickly the Signs Appear!

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Not so very long ago I was walking with a friend who happened to notice that leaves were beginning to fall around his neighbourhood.

“Tell me it’s not Fall already!” he bemoaned “I’m just getting used to summer!”

“Well it IS late August,” I said, very sagely. “You knew it was coming.”  Lucky for me, friends don’t mind it when you are a bit of a jerk now and then.  They let the comments slide. Not even a few prematurely falling leaves were going to ruin our weekend.

But sometimes words (and their underlying attitudes) have a way of coming back to give you a glimpse of what you deserve.  Fast forward only a couple of weeks from my sage advice on the preparedness of one’s self for the signs of the changing seasons …  to the day when I woke up to the sound of geese flying south for the winter, my son getting ready for his first day of school, and the radio saying that it would be a cool morning so break out your jackets! “What happened!” I thought to myself. “When did fall get here!”

“Well it IS September,” I could hear Jim stating matter-of-factly in the back of my mind. “YOU knew it was coming hot-shot!” And what could I say back to my friend’s imaginary barb?  Nothing. He was right.  Even though I knew the signs, even though I had chastised him for the very same thing only days earlier, here I was in the same spot. Knowing the signs and being ready for the signs are not always the same thing.  Because when the signs do come, they appear quickly.

It is something we have been discussing as a family lately.  We have been reading C.S. Lewis’ “The Silver Chair.” together for our bed-time story. In it the children are given four signs to complete their task and they miss or goof up on every single one of them.  Just like in real life!  Knowing the signs, and being ready for them when they come are not the same thing!

It is also like another journey I have found myself on lately.  The inglorious road of getting older, developing health issues, and being poked and prodded and tested for and by nearly everything.  We all know the signs of getting older, but not one of us is ever really ready for it when it happens … because it all happens so suddenly.  (“Well, you are 41 years old,” I can hear my wife and/or my doctor sagely saying. “You knew it was coming sooner or later didn’t you.” )

So how will it be, as we turn our attention once again to the coming of the end (not just of me, but of all things), as our thoughts normally do around this time each year? As the lectionary draws toward the end of the year the signs of Christ’s second coming will begin to appear more regularly and quickly in the coming weeks. They are signs that we all know so well, we hear them every fall, we flavour our Advent with them every winter.  But knowing is not the same as being ready for them when they do appear.

The only way to do that is to trust in the one who brings winter after every fall and spring after every winter. To trust in the one who accomplishes his tasks whether we are on top of things or not. To trust in the one for whom old age has never been an obstacle to true and abundant life.  And the only sign you need to know … the only sign you need to hold onto for that  is the sign of the cross.


Author: kenmaher

When I'm not working I enjoy Astronomy, Camping, Comic Books, Epic Fantasy Novels, Games (both playing and designing), Hiking, Juggling, Sci-fi, and building strange things out of pvc pipe. I also enjoy being an honorary pre-schooler with my four great children ... much to their mother's dismay.

One thought on “How Quickly the Signs Appear!

  1. Health issues have a way of making one take stock of their mortality as it were. As Christians we know that this life is temporary, we are pilgrims as it were journeying to our heavenly home, but our bodies tend to bring us very quickly to a flash of the reality of aging especially when we are ill. How thankful that we are ever in our Maker’s hands so that even when ill health strikes we can hang on though the tests and probing are not fun. Just an answer to give us a reason for the troubles now encountered is what we seek even if the news isn’t great.
    Sometimes that answer is not meant for us though and then we learn like St. Paul that contentment must simply be resting in Jesus and His keeping, moment by moment, day by day.
    Fall is here, somehow we can’t stop it or change it no matter how we would like to try. Winter will come and season will follow season until this earth and all that is in it ends on that last day.Feels sad and yet that last day puts us in God’s eternity with Him forevermore, which is more joy than we can even know.
    So bring the colours on, let the leaves fall where they will. I’m going to enjoy the beauty that is always there if I but look. May I trust and ever be held in my Savior’s loving grace.

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