Seasons of the Christian Life
There are so many ways to look at the seasons during our lives. The ones we know we can see every year but there are also those we might experience, but do not truly understand. We have spring which is where everything starts blooming. We start planting our gardens to provide for our family, and flowers to brighten our outside. We have summer which is known to be very hot, but during summer we can enjoy outside activities like camping, swimming, and family vacations. We have fall when the leaves are falling off the trees. But, we can enjoy the cooler weather and begin to prepare for the holidays and maybe start doing some baking. Then we have winter which brings in the snow and much colder temperatures. Some of us like to hibernate and stay inside to keep warm. Some of us like to go outside and play in the snow if we get enough. Through all of these seasons there are changes. There are changes in temperature, nature and how we enjoy each season. These seasons are very important and we can see God in all of these seasons especially when it changes from one to the next.
I want to focus this month on Christian seasons. What does it mean when we say Christian seasons and what scripture can we look at to describe seasons we might be going through in our lives? King Solomon was a knowledgeable man who thought a lot about the way life goes. He wrote these words in Ecclesiastes 3:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter 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 kill, and a time to heal; a time to break 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 cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
The God-Given Task: What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11)
We all experience change and different experiences in life. Sometimes life is exciting and productive, and we feel like nothing will ever go wrong. At other times we just want to go away and escape the situation. As King David said, “Oh that I could fly away with wings like a dove.” We must understand the seasons. If we do not understand that there are seasons in life, we may draw the wrong conclusions about what is happening in our lives or the reasons for it. God has a plan and a purpose to make your life beautiful. God has us in a journey. We can’t see the outlook of God’s work from beginning to end. We are short sighted. In tough times where health, money, friends and marriage are not looking good, we may wonder what is going on. But God makes us beautiful through all the trials and circumstances in life. It is during the tough seasons that we often grow the most in our character. It is difficult to form outstanding character in seasons of pure prosperity. This is one reason why God ordains seasons where we have to fight when things do not come easily.
Here are some examples of seasons: Being single and wanting to be married – for most people it’s only a season. There can be a season where you are mourning a loss of a friend or loved one and life does not seem to have the same meaning without them. There can be seasons of study, unemployment and other seasons of prosperity where work is abundant. All of these things can be in seasons. If you try to hang onto something that is in the past, it can turn sour. Don’t try to push something in the wrong season. We mustn’t look back all the time wishing for our favorite season of the past to return. Instead we must forget what lies behind and push forward to what lies ahead.
Here are some things that are good to know about seasons.
1. No matter what season you are in, no season lasts forever. “This too shall pass.” Change is always on its way. Like a coin with two sides, life has a way of changing. Good seasons come and go, as do bad seasons.
2. Change of seasons is not a sign that you are a good or bad person. When bad things happen it’s not a sign that you are a bad person. It’s just a sign that bad things are happening. Bad things do happen to good people. We talked about Job in the month of October. He had good seasons, but he is remembered for the terrible time of oppression and loss he faced. Yet he was a righteous man. Do not assume that you are worse than others if you suffer loss or go through a trial. Genesis 8:22 says, “As long as the earth remains, there will be springtime and harvest, winter and summer, day and night.” There are going to be seasons until Jesus returns and maybe beyond.
3. Never let the season you are in define who you are. Don’t change what you believe according to what season you are in. When you are in a challenging or difficult season, don’t do too much. In the life of Joseph in the Book of Genesis, we see that the season of prosperity will always be preceded by pits and prison. Character is developed in the pits and prisons. God’s plans do not change just because the seasons do. God’s plan for Joseph to be a great ruler never changed because he was put in the pit or in the prison. God is still with you whether you are in a pit, prison or a palace.
4. Learn from every season that you are in. Every season has lessons of life for us. In Joseph’s life, the plan of God was for him to rule, but before he ruled he was ruled over. What I am learning now will help me be wiser when I next go through this season, or it will be useful when I have a friend that goes through this season. You can learn things in your dark seasons that enable you to minister hope and stability to others who will face these kinds of things in the future. So don’t despair if there are trials. God is with you in it, and will bring you through.
5. God is at Work in Every Season We can be confident that God is working things out for our good no matter how things are going in our external world. God’s main purpose is to prepare and form us for eternity, to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. When we understand that, we can understand that we are not going to have easy seasons all the time. Even the blessed man of Psalm 1 who meditates on the world bears fruit “in its season” (Ps 1:1-3). Whether we see fruit in our current season or not, God is still at work, preparing something good for us.
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Debbie Senters