In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon reminds us that there is a season for everything; we will experience both good and bad. In verses 2-8, he lists things that contrast each other-
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
I love Fall.
Fall means the trees are changing. The trees are splashed with colors of deep amber, gold, ruby red, and darkest of purples. The leaves litter the ground, painting the sidewalks with various colors. George and I go on vacation in the Fall, taking two weeks to go to Maggie Valley/Waynesville NC where we have rented the same cabin for 6 or 7 years. I love the crisp air, being able to sleep with the windows open, listening to the sounds of the night; I love the morning fog in the valley below us; I love sweaters and the blue of the sky that is never the same color any other time of the year.
What I don’t love is winter. I hate being cold. In fact, I am a fair-weather runner and before my back surgery, I was a fair-weather golfer. As long as it is below 95 I will go out for a run, or play golf. But once the temperature gets below 55, and definitely below 50, I am inside, downstairs on the treadmill where I can remain warm and snuggly.
In our Christian walk, we too experience seasons that are wonderful and difficult. We go through seasons of pruning and loss, and seasons of growth and waiting. Often we must give up things that we used to think precious. Before the virus, before shelter in place things such as a morning trip to Starbucks seemed important. And now, not so much. But God calls us to give up our new-found time to him and to grow more in trusting Him.
God acknowledges that we may experience seasons of great abundance or great loss. We can experience great joy or great pain. But the beautiful thing of all is this: None of these seasons or experiences is wasted; God can use everything we experience and make it beautiful.
Here are a few wonderful promises to remember in our hard seasons:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)