Today’s devotional is excerpted from A Charles Dickens Devotional, beginning with this selection from The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby:
It was, by this time, within an hour of noon, and although a dense vapour still enveloped the city they had left, as if the very breath of its busy people hung over their schemes of gain and profit, and found greater attraction there than in the quiet region above, in the open country it was clear and fair. Occasionally, in some low spots they came upon patches of mist which the sun had not yet driven from their strongholds; but these were soon passed, and as they laboured up the hills beyond, it was pleasant to look down, and see how the sluggish mass rolled heavily off, before the cheering influence of day. A broad, fine, honest sun lighted up the green pastures and dimpled water with the semblance of summer, while it left the travellers all the invigorating freshness of that early time of year. The ground seemed elastic under their feet. . . .
The day wore on, and all these bright colours subsided, and assumed a quieter tint, like young hopes softened down by time, or youthful features by degrees resolving into the calm and serenity of age. But they were scarcely less beautiful in their slow decline, than they had been in their prime; for nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy, that we can scarcely mark their progress.
—The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
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Charles Dickens idealized the countryside, perhaps because his city settings were often so bleak. Here, in his legendary descriptive style, the author reveals the subtleness of God’s seasonal changes as Nicholas and his friend Smike walk through the landscape in springtime.
Just as God does in nature, He also changes the seasons of our lives. In Ecclesiastes 3, King Solomon wrote: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; . . . a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; . . . a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-5).
Everything must change. Nothing stays the same. Some changes—like the seasonal changes described in Dickens’s works—are expected, beautiful, and welcome. Other changes come unexpectedly, unwanted, and leave us wondering what to do. The answer for changing times is to put your faith in God, who does not change (Malachi 3:6). Solomon said that God makes “everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He transforms the winters of our lives into spring. When we accept the changes and ask God to make them beautiful, our faith grows and blooms like His landscapes in springtime.
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease. —Genesis 8:22
How will the Lord use you today to help bring a spring of joy into someone’s life by your love and your witness? Leave a comment on our blog – we’d love to hear from you!