Changing Seasons

3-14-13 seasons

There’s something enjoyable about every season. Winter brings skiing and cozy nights inside. Spring brings anticipation and the budding of new life before your very eyes. Summer brings warmth and a myriad of outdoor activities. Fall brings amazing colors and brisk outdoor walks.

Each season has something negative too. Winter can get very cold and seem to last forever. Spring is unpredictable and can have severe storms. Summer can get very hot and dry, and Fall can be as unpredictable as spring with its widely varying temperatures.

It’s the transition from one season to the next that is often the most frustrating. One day could be winter, and the next could feel like spring only to fall back to winter again a week later. Summer always ends way too quickly, and Fall likes us to tease us with summer-like days every so often in between the cooler and frostier ones.

Maybe it’s the unpredictability that bothers me. I don’t know what to wear, and no amount of planning can prepare me for the reality of the day. Add to that the fact that we live in Michigan, and you get the very real possibility of three seasons in a single day. Some days, it’s just not possible to dress for the weather. Layers are the best you can do.

Spiritual seasons are so very much like nature’s seasons. Both are necessary for growth and rest, and both are essential for moving life along.

As with nature’s seasons, probably the hardest part of changing spiritual seasons is often the transition from one season to the next. These in-between times, spiritually and mentally, are trying.

The natural seasons (birth, death, growth, ageing) are predictable. We may not know exact dates always, but we at least know the general pattern. It’s the extremes and the seasons that come seemingly out of nowhere (pre-mature death, sickness, natural disasters) that disrupt life and catch us completely off guard.

A person can remain stuck in an in-between season with no clear end or even a clear next step to take. Illness, unresolved past issues, unforgiveness, stress, overload, and on goes the list. Sometimes, these seasons seem to have no end, kind of like Winter in Michigan.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1-10, King Solomon wonderfully captures this idea of life’s seasons.

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for everything under heaven. A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.  A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.”

This portion of Ecclesiastes shows us that timing is important, but it’s not our timing that matters. It’s God’s. He is in control, and His timing is perfect. God is never early or late; He arrives exactly when He means to. Our part in this is to trust the fact that “He has made everything appropriate in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Regardless of the season of life you’re experiencing at this moment, knowing that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28) can bring the strength and courage to continue enduring, rejoicing and finding joy in all seasons of life.

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