Lately, I have been thinking so much about the Seasons of life. The constant of life is change. Change occurs in individuals and in families. It brought me to this well known passage in the Bible about Seasons.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent 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 look at these verses and think I have been in many of these seasons, some a few times. I have been apart of them, or witnessed them as part of a family. I think it is interesting that the Lord makes a time for everything. It is His calculated plan for us to experience each of the seasons He has chosen for us. I also think that it is interesting that each season is specifically given in God’s perfect timing. I know that as you are in a season of sadness, it never feels like perfect timing. The list of seasons and the timing to me is one of those great God mysteries waiting to be unwrapped when you get to heaven. Let’s face it, you are certainly not aware at the time you open your mouth to say something just how it is going to effect another person. That is unless you have a chatterbox four year old. In which case, you should never yell in traffic, “Get out of the way dude!” I thought it was a smart alternative to what I really wanted to say until we were stuck in traffic and all I heard very loudly for fifteen minutes was, “Get out of the way dude!”
I love the mystery buried in the example of," A time to keep and a time to throw away." If you are me, there may never be a true time to throw away, because you might need that empty shoe box that has been sitting on the closet floor for 6 months. If you are my husband you would likely just throw it away with out any regard to its storage possibilities. A time to be silent versus a time to speak, now that is a challenge! I could probably list a million instances of when silence would have been a better option for me. I was only four when I learned; it is never nice to tell your teacher she is despicable, even if that was daffy ducks favorite line. That was my first trip to the office. Then there is a time to tear and a time to mend. It seems so simple doesn’t it? Tearing is in fact quite easy, but mending anything literally or metaphorically is difficult. Sometimes, mending feelings means more than giving a simple, “Oh, I am sorry about that.”
The thing about seasons is that even though you may not want to be in one or another, you are exactly where God wants you to be. I think seasons are like the metaphor of the potter and the clay or the refiner’s fire. Each season is just a step in the direction God wants to take you. He is unfolding the seasons of your life to “uproot” the ungodly ways, and “planting” the seeds to be more Christ like.
I have a dear friend, Elizabeth Byler Younts, who has written a book about the Seasons in the life of her Amish grandmother. What an interesting read it will be, as we uncover that all of God’s people experience the seasons listed in the verses above. The only difference in our seasons is our reaction to them.