I just returned from a vacation to visit my family and friends in San Diego, California, USA. It was wonderful to enjoy endless days of sun and surf. It was so warm and bright out there! You could wear a tank top, shorts and flip flops everyday. My pale skin actually had a hard time adjusting to all of that sunshine! People flocked to the ocean to enjoy the waves and cool waters in their sunglasses, bathing suits, and large brimmed hats. My mom and I laughed at all of the fall catalogues coming in the mail promising to add comfort and warmth to the home for the cold winter months. It was 90 degrees or more outside everyday! The drought and lack of rain, however, had really taken a toll on the landscape and reservoirs. Evidence of recent wildfires marred the landscape. Clearly, this place could use some rain!
What a shock when Mark and I returned to Erie, Pennsylvania, USA and it was cold, dreary and raining outside! It was as if we went from summer to fall in an instant. I know, I know. It was already gradually fading into fall before we left for our trip two weeks earlier. And I shouldn’t have been so surprised by the nip in the air and touch of color on the trees. The temperatures had been steadily dipping for a couple of weeks. It was really strange though to be walking around outside in shorts and a tank top in the sun one day on the West Coast and wearing jeans and a sweater sipping hot tea indoors the next day nearer to the East Coast.
I’m so glad God gradually changes the seasons in our lives. I am honestly entering my spring season in life right now after a very long and cold winter. The last couple of years were marked by two back-to-back, life-threatening pregnancy losses, unanswered questions, and an infertility diagnosis followed by exploratory and corrective surgery. It was a hard set of trials to endure, but my faith in God has grown stronger. My roots have grown deeper and can more easily withstand future storms. I have become closer to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps you are in a difficult season of your life. It may feel like it will never end. It can be lonely, scary and painful. Sometimes you feel like you have sunk into the deepest, darkest pit full of despair and all alone. Remember that God is always there. He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Take heart! The Bible has made it clear that every season begins and ends. Some seasons last for years. Some may end when we meet our Maker and He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” This last season in my life was three years in length. I feel it ended when I finally got to hug my family I hadn’t seen in two years. (It is tough being a military spouse! Leaving and cleaving can be hard when you often travel far from home.) I was able to tell them all of the things God has done for me and through me. God will never tempt us beyond what we can bear in any season of life (1 Corinthians 10:13). He knows exactly how much you and I can handle. Believe me, sometime He knows we can handle more than we can ever fathom! By faith, you can get through today and even tomorrow.
Perhaps you are in a totally different season of your life. Maybe you feel like you are standing on a pinnacle. There are times in our lives where we feel blessed beyond measure. The harvest is plentiful and everything is ripe for the picking. It feels like everything in the world is going our way. During this time, we should thank the Lord for the abundance we don’t deserve and generously give back to Him and to others in our lives. May we always keep in mind that it is the Lord who has given us everything and not merely of our own doing. Like Job in the Bible, it can be here today and gone tomorrow. All good things on Earth must come to an end. The Lord has things to teach us and to show us in every season, and sometimes one season must end for the next lesson to begin.
God’s timing is very different from our timing. Things don’t always happen when it is convenient for us. Sometimes they smack us right in the face when we least expect them. Above all else, remember that “there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the heavens…He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11. Everything that happens in our lives and in those around us is part of a bigger picture of what God is accomplishing here on Earth through His people. Sometimes God’s timing makes little sense to us. Don’t lose heart, for God knows your needs and desires. He has heard your questions and prayers. Don’t look around you, just look up! We should set our minds on the things above and not on Earthly things (Colossians 3:2). Focus your mind on all things eternal, and it will change your perspective here on Earth. Someday we will stand before our God in heaven and give an account of everything in our lives (Romans 14:12). No matter what season you are in, may you use the time God has given you wisely.
In 2 Timothy 4:2 it says, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.” You might feel ‘out of season,’ but perhaps this is when God can accomplish the greatest work in your life! He will prepare and equip you to do the work He has set before you. You just need to get out of the way, and let God have His way. Pray to God and ask Him to give you the wisdom, strength and guidance to go forth and be an Ambassador for Christ! While the sun is shining, you can share His warmth and radiance. When the leaves are falling, you can admire His brilliance and strength. As winter blankets the Earth, you can rest in His love and grace. And as the Earth comes to life again, you can thank the Lord for His resurrection and your salvation. Every season offers a chance to praise the Lord! Will you offer Him your thanksgiving and your willing hands and heart in this season of your life today?