I shared this devotion with our staff team today and decided to share it in this space. My favorite season of year just started: FOOTBALL SEASON!! Seriously, we all know that there are four seasons of the year that all of us walk through. We all have our favorite and least favorite seasons. For me, fall is my favorite followed closely by summer. Count me OUT for the cold winter! However, even in the coldest winter we have hope becasue we know that spring is coming! It’s interesting that the Bible takes the common seasons of the year and compares them to seasons of life…
“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 up 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 together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast 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 for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8, ESV)
The Bible compares the different times we experience in life to the seasons of the year. Let’s take a few moments and think about life’s seasons…
We must RECOGNIZE the seasons.
Some seasons of life come with time and life. Our kids move from diapers to drivers license. We move from a full house to an empty nest. We move into retirement years. Other seasons come because of change or circumstances. We get offered a job in another city and we accept – necessitating a move and a new season. A loved one suddenly passes away. Natural disasters come. Sometimes seasons change suddenly and irreversibly. Sometimes we get so busy that we don’t even realize the seasons change. The reality is that every single one of us is in a season. Some of us are in a great season. Some of us are in a hard season. Some of us are beginning a new season. Every single one of us is in a season.
We must ENTRUST the seasons.
The Lord controls the seasons. We are not in control. Seasons come and seasons go according to His will. If we keep reading in Ecclesiastes 3, this truth is made clear…
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, ESV)
“I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14, ESV)
The seasons of our lives are in HIS hands. If we are in a hard, painful season it’s important to come back to this truth again and again. During one of the most difficult seasons of my own life I was agonizing with the Lord in prayer. He spoke two words to my spirit that night: “TRUST ME.” The Lord is in control of the seasons of our lives. THAT fact is why we can trust Him.
If you are in a hard season, remember the flip side of this truth. Seasons are not permanent. Seasons come, but seasons go. Cold winter gives way to life giving spring. You may not be able to see it. It may be hard to for you to believe it is there, but there is an end to this hard season and the beginning of the a new season. We don’t control the length of our life seasons. We just have to ENTRUST them to the ONE who is faithful and true.
We must EMBRACE the seasons.
“Be where your feet are!” I honestly don’t remember where I heard that expression, but I have never forgotten it. Be present. Be all in, wherever you are in life. This lesson also applies to seasons of life. All of us have favorite seasons of life – times of blessings, joy, and happiness. All of us have hard seasons of life – times of tears, pain, discouragement, etc. The problem comes when we are in a hard season, but our heart is stuck in the good season. We remember when it was better. We remember when it was easier. We remember when it was like we wanted it to be. We remember the good seasons. Praise God for them! It’s good to remember and rejoice. The problem comes when we get stuck in anger, depression, despair and more due to the hard season we are presently in. In a very real sense, we must EMBRACE the season we are in even if it is a season we would have never chosen. “Be where your feet are. Embrace it!”
Some time ago, the Lord used a member of our church to very clearly challenge me about this issue. It happened in a most unexpected place. His wife of over six decades was in her last days. I walked into the hospice unit, and he was sitting at her bedside holding her hand. As usual, I talked with them and prayed with them. As I finished my prayer, he began praying. Here is how he finished his prayer….“Lord, you have been faithful to us. Thank you for bringing us to this place where we can be faithful to you in this moment.”
Have you ever had something hit you a few moments AFTER the moment? Such was my experience that day. As I walked to my car, the reality of his prayer hit me. Here was a man in what was likely the hardest season of his long life, yet he thanked the Lord for it and praised God for the opportunity to be faithful in it. If I ever witnessed anyone who entrusted and embraced a hard season, it was that man in that moment.
Honestly, I was a bit shaken. I was in the middle of a difficult and painful season myself. Increasingly, my thoughts had turned wistfully to better, easier, happier seasons. After witnessing that prayer, I sat in my car for a few minutes to pray. Through my tears I thanked the Lord for His faithfulness to me through every season of my life. I thanked Him for the hard season that I was walking through, and I thanked Him for the opportunity to be faithful to Him in it. I had long ago RECOGNIZED the seasons. It was on that afternoon that I truly learned to ENTRUST and EMBRACE a hard season.
What about YOU? Maybe you are reading this post and you are in the middle of a hard season. Maybe your prayer needs to be similar this one…
“Lord, you have been faithful to me. Thank you for bringing me to this place where I can be faithful to you in this moment.”