To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3: 1)
This is quite possibly one of the most quoted verses of scripture, and often one of the most difficult to quietly accept – especially when confronted with change that is unwanted or fearful, or when going through the ‘fiery trials’ or the storms and challenges of life. While we may sometimes even resent being reminded of the truth of this, it is God’s grace, a word from him, that helps us to find certainty in change.
Yet this reminds us that the same God who sustains the universe and orders the seasons each to their own appointed time, holds our lives securely in his hand. It’s easy to accept that spring, summer, autumn and winter must follow their appointed path, and that the tides should ebb and flow according to his sovereign will. We expect nothing less.
It’s also easy for us to accept that the course of our lives has a series of seasons – the spring of infancy, the summer of youth, the autumn of middle age and, finally, the winter of our old age. Why then do we find it so difficult to accept that we will experience other seasons too – seasons of hardship or struggle, of blessings and joy, of sadness, of learning, of loving, of letting go…
Our seasons belong to each of us alone. They may overlap in places, but the experiences are uniquely ours. The God who has created each of us as distinct individuals, with specific destinies in Christ, shapes our seasons accordingly. The type may be the same, but the experience is ours. He knows, at any given moment, the exact number of hairs on our heads. And he knows the seasons we must pass through during our time on earth.
But, like this incredible world we call our temporary ‘home’, our seasons are not haphazard or random. They have a very specific purpose, though we sometimes only see it way down the line, or sometimes not at all. Not everything is clear in this life, although we can be sure that things will change. That’s the nature of life as God has ordained it.
The real certainty lies in the sure knowledge that there is a purpose, a divine cycle of growth and rest and renewal and harvest, that brings us ever closer to Him. It is change that challenges us to grow, to seek His purpose in whatever season we may find ourselves in. No, it’s not always easy. But with each ‘cycle’ of our seasons, as we learn to shed the old, dead fruit and allow Him to prepare us for new growth, as we rejoice in the harvest He provides, and find rest in the quiet times with Him, so we are transformed by the ‘author and perfecter’ of our faith, step by step, into His likeness.
Lord, help me to see your purpose in the seasons I go through in my life, and to live a life of praise to you through each, so that I may grow more like you and you may be seen through my life.