P3: Seasons

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To Everything There is a Season
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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 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.

We commonly use phrases like, “it’s just a season,” or “this season will end, ” or “enjoy this season of life.”  There is a knowing that seasons have a beginning, and seasons have an end.  Most of us can survive a dreary winter because we know that spring is coming!  The older we get, our “seasons” become our memories…reminders of stages of life:  the childhood season, college/pre-marital season, early-married life season, parenting (babies, kids, teens, adult children), professional/job season, ministry season, painful or traumatic season, financially unstable or stable season, retirement season, friendship season, etc.  The list could go on!The writer of Ecclesiastes confirms what we know…”to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”  His list seems pretty complete to me, and very profound when paused to consider.

Something about the word “season” often makes my stomach churn and my heart feel heavy.  Without saying it outright, the writer is showing a list of contrasts, which means seasons are unstable and bring change.  If you’re anything like me, I am all about the good seasons of life sticking around:  my husband happy with his job, the kids all healthy and secure, finances steady, no family drama taking place, the next fun vacation being planned, our spiritual lives experiencing  joy in God’s presence while being surrounded by  believing and sharpening friends (can we all enjoy a collective exhale of “ahhhhh?”) 

No doubt about it, the Lord gives us these sweet seasons to give us a foretaste of heaven.  We long for this rightness!  When everything is good, whole, healthy, and pure. 

We get so stuck looking backward at “what was,” that we can’t move forward into “what is.”

While we can try to extend our “summer” well into “winter,” we cannot alter the facts of this life…a new season is coming, and that means change.  Many would say they don’t like change because it brings a negative connotation:  discomfort, awkwardness, the unknown.  Some of us resist change so much because it is often painful…it hurts!  We try desperately to hang onto a past season that is long gone.  We get so stuck looking backward at “what was,” that we can’t move forward into “what is.” 

Often this keeps us in a place of resentment, anger, and despair where we stubbornly resist what God has next for us.  So busy fixating on the past, blaming God or others, or stuck in our own shame,  we cannot see what the next season is offering…the grass IS starting to green, new buds ARE developing on the trees, flowers ARE bursting forth from the quieted post-winter soil. 

Change of seasons, however painful or uncomfortable they may be, brings growth.  Beautiful growth if we allow it.  I believe this is the Psalmist’s heart when he says to the Lord, “teach us to number our days, that we may gain hearts of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).  If every “season” the Lord allows into our lives is to remind us that our time here is “but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow,” then the challenge is to redeem the “season” we’re living in!

But let’s be honest.  We don’t have to allow our “seasons” to grow us.  We can allow them to harden us, make our love grow cold, become cynical and judgmental, or just flat out refuse to be developed by them.  We can live our lives, season after season, pumping our fists at God or others because of what has happened to us.  We can choose to stay stuck in despair or unbelief.  We can choose to never intentionally reflect upon our “season” to discover more about ourselves, others, or God.  We can just “grin and bear it,” and lock the potential lessons learned away in the dark attic of our mind, throwing away the key, and refusing the Holy Spirit access. 

Redeeming the “season” we are living in, or have gotten past, comes with a choice.

In my own life it means that nothing gets wasted.  Every “season” I have lived through, and every “season” before me, is to develop my trust and intimacy with Jesus.  Instead of living in the ache of a winter long past, I glean from it (sometimes…often…with great hindsight),  but always with the faith that it is about changing me from the inside out. 

If God intended every “season” to have a purpose, then our challenge is to let nothing be wasted.  Whether you are in a joyful “season” of blessing and abundance, or whether you are in a painful “season” of hardship and loss, one thing is certain…a new season is coming!

Pray for it, long for it, and wait for it with trusted hope and expectation that our God who “has put eternity into our hearts,” will one day usher us all into a “fixed season” of bliss.  But until that day, let’s allow these temporary “seasons” of change to grow us into women who use all that we’ve learned and gleaned for the glory of our incredible God. 

deanne

DeAnne Welberg is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, teacher and coach. She and her husband, Patrick, have 3 active teenagers and reside in Wilsonville. DeAnne is a gifted communicator and uses that gift to teach at ONE Community Bible Study. She is also an assistant coach to Wilsonville High School’s varsity lacrosse team. In her free time she enjoys traveling, running in the outdoors, and spending time with friends.

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