The air is getting cooler. The leaves are changing color. The smells of pumpkin and cinnamon waft into your nostrils. Christmas decorations are already on the shelves at Wal-mart. It’s fall! There is something profoundly spiritual about the changing of seasons. Just like the weather and holidays that come and go, our life is full of ever-changing circumstances.
In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon writes these famous words;
“For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.” – (Ecc. 3:1-4)
We can have seasons of joy and victory followed by seasons of suffering and frustration. Seasons of faith could come right after a season of doubt. I remember feeling so trapped as a teenager in my circumstances. When will school ever end? Lord please heal my acne! Can I just be a kid forever? So, I want to share a few things about seasons that I’ve learned.
1 – They Don’t Last Forever – This can be good or bad news. It’s comforting to know that a bad season will pass but it’s hard to take when a good thing must come to an end. For someone who is suffering right now that is a much-needed truth. It won’t always be this way. There are many seasons in life that naturally pass. For instance, a 2-year-old will eventually grow out of diapers. You might be in a natural season right now that is difficult. But remember, school will eventually end, you’ll be able to drive a car, shed your awkward growth spurts, and make your own decisions. Don’t be overwhelmed by a something in your life right now that may naturally pass soon. But maybe your difficulties are regarding your poor health, a broken family, or financial hardship. While I can’t guarantee that those circumstances will change in this life I can share with you the promise of your future with Jesus. Someday after this life “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will pass away.” (Rev. 21:4)
2 – They Have A Purpose – I know it can be hard to see purpose in suffering but there is. It isn’t always easy to put your finger on the “why” of suffering but if God, who is good, allows it then it must have a purpose. I won’t offer any platitudes about why your suffering is worth it, rather I’ll just point you towards Jesus to meet with Him. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Rom. 5:3-5) While I’m still trying to figure out why God has allowed sickness and pain in my life I won’t stop pursuing my Savior. I have chosen not to hold on to questions I can’t answer but rather a Savior that I can know intimately. Don’t lose sight of your Savior in any season. Learn to embrace each season for what it has to offer.
3 – They Are Cyclical – This observation mostly applies to the positive seasons. As my mom always said, “All good things must come to an end.” It’s hard to take at first when something awesome dries up. You may feel like things will never be the same. In one sense you are right – nothing ever stays the same. But on the other hand during a season of frustration, pain, fear, or suffering it can be good to know that seasons of hope, joy, peace, strength, and comfort will come back around again. I wish I could say that seasons of hope and joy would last as long as the summers of Florida (8 months). They come and go as God wills it. Remember that by the grace of God they’ll be back again. Don’t despair and don’t give up – God is faithful. “Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love and the future to God’s providence.” – Augustine
Don’t define your life by one season. Allow them to ebb and flow and don’t allow any season to derail your direction. Stay strong and move forward. Allow God to speak into each season, sustain you through them, and lead you ever forward into His love.