Carol and I drove to northern Indiana recently to meet her sister and husband for lunch. Along the way, we saw some beautiful autumn scenery. As we drove, I said, “Well, I guess this is our fall color tour.” We laughed because we don’t always get to take a color tour, and this one was unintentional. It just so happened that we were out and about when autumn decided to come out too, dressed in her finery.
Even the occasional showers that dampened our progress could not dampen our spirits. The sunshine after the showers only heightened the brilliance of the colors. Autumn delighted us with fiery reds, flaming oranges, and splashy golds.
As we slowed down to go through a small town, a church marquee caught my eye. It said, “Autumn leaves. Jesus never does.”
I love that play on words, and I love the spiritual message as well. I began to think about the times God promised he would never leave us. I remembered Moses’ farewell speech to the people of Israel. He knew his era of leadership was coming to an end. Joshua would be their new leader. As they entered the Promised Land, Moses knew they would face enemies. The danger was that the people would turn in fear and fail to fulfill their destiny. So he said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV).
God repeated that promise to Joshua as they were getting ready to enter the land. The great leader Moses had died. They could not depend on his leadership, but God was not leaving. He would go with them.
Unfortunately, friends, loved ones, and esteemed leaders and mentors do die. But God will not leave. Even money does not provide solid security. It too can leave. Have you been to the grocery store lately? It doesn’t take long for cash to slip through your fingers. This is why the writer says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).
So remember: Autumn leaves, and so do other things, but Jesus does not.
Ron McClung is assistant general secretary for The Wesleyan Church.