The heart in fall is, in a word, expectant. If we've prepared well in spring, plowing and sowing and planting, then we wait in an expectancy of hope. If we have not prepared well, we wait in an expectation of disappointment, may be dread.

"Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God," Hebrews [6:7] says. "But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned." One minor motif running through Hebrews is agricultural, the rhythms of planting and reaping ….

Agriculture is about patience and anticipation: we expect something to come from our efforts. The heart in fall especially lives with this expectation. It feels the weight of it, the heft and tug of what's coming. Let me change the image somewhat to illustrate.

It just turned fall a few days ago, but only today does it feel like fall. Up until now, days were warm and languid, and bright with the last burst of hibiscus and geranium. Everyone wore shorts and T-shirts, even in the evenings, and some still swam in the rivers. It dawned this morning looking like more of the same. But by mid morning, a grayness squelched the sun, a cold wind barreled down the sky, a chill spread through the house. And then a cold slathering rain began to fall.

So I started the season's first wood fire. The wood's been curing since last winter. I gathered an armload of it, plus a fistful of kindling, and started my fire. In a few minutes, it blazed hot and bright in the stove, the dry wood popping and sparking like firecrackers.

Then I went out and surveyed my woodpile. Just shy of ...

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Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul
Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul
336 pp., 14.7
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