I’ve written a couple of blog posts that circled around this topic – one on this personal site (Hope of Spring) and one on the ministry site (Appreciate the Good Times), but neither one fully addressed my thoughts on this subject.
Maybe I just want to write on this topic because we’ve experienced about a 50-degree temperature swing in the past few days! Let’s hope there’s a bit more depth to it than that…
Lately I’m hearing more and more people talk about how life is full of seasons. I’ve been saying that myself for the past 10 years or so. If you’re one of my younger readers, say under 40, you may not have looked at life this way yet.
But for those of us who are likely in the last half of our earthly lives, this becomes more and more evident. And the more I thought about it, the more I saw parallels to the real weather seasons we experience.
When I was younger and I saw my life as overwhelmingly blessed, I just assumed that’s how life should be. I certainly didn’t think of it as just a “season” of my life. Why would I want this beautiful summer to turn into winter?
But eventually, as I experienced difficult times in my life, I started to see those parallels. Here are some of the life lessons I now see through this “seasonal lens.”
- Seasons are inevitable. Just as surely as the snow melts and the tulips pop through, so will we experience times of joy and times of heartache, eventually. I now look at BOTH of those times as seasons. It isn’t just the difficult days that I equate to a winter season – it’s everything. We move from one to another, and maybe back and forth.
- Seasons come to an end. Unless you live in some tropical paradise… But here in the Midwest, we can be assured that we will NOT be buried in snow come August. And chances are pretty high that it won’t hit 95 degrees in mid-January. And just as we all have our favorite weather season that we never want to see come to an end, so will we want our good times to be endless. And conversely, the winter seasons of our life do mercifully eventually come to an end, and we see that hope of Spring I wrote about earlier.
- We don’t know how long each season will last. Every year is a bit different. When we lived in Stillwater, MN, we had a THREE-FOOT blizzard on Halloween! That’s right! Go figure. Think that made for a REALLY long winter? Absolutely! But when we built our last home in 2000 here in Iowa, we had 80-degree days in December which made for a much shorter winter season. And a great year to be building a new home! Despite “The Farmer’s Almanac” predictions, no one nails it 100%. Similarly, with your life seasons, seldom do you know how long either the good or the difficult times will last. (But God does.)
- Some “mini–seasons” are just cold fronts or heat waves. Within the four major seasons, we often find strange phenomenon showing up such as unexpected freezes or heat waves. They may be in and out in a couple of days, and then you return to what you expect of the season. Sure, they break it up a bit, for better or for worse, but there’s usually not a long-lasting affect. When you go through a few days or weeks of “the blues,” you might just be experiencing one of those cold fronts. Hopefully, your life returns to a sense of normalcy soon. And getting some joyful news in the middle of a tough year might just be a little heat respite for your winter-weary soul.
- God knows every detail of the seasons. Not only is God the Author and Creator of every season in every location from the beginning of time, but He knows EXACTLY what He’s doing as He takes you through the seasons of your life. Nothing is arbitrary. No pain is wasted. Every one of your days is planned.
- Look for the beauty in each season. Of course, we all have our favorites. I toggle back and forth between Spring and Fall being my favorites. I love the new life that Spring brings each year, but I also marvel at the spectacular colors of the Fall. And even if we aren’t fans of the extremes of Summer and Winter, I’m sure we have all admired some incredible beauty during those days.
What about the seasons of my life? Do I see beauty in each of them? Do you? Do I appreciate my favorite life season while I’m in it? Am I purposeful about finding the good in my difficult days? It’s pretty hard sometimes to do either, isn’t it? It’s so easy to take for granted our happy days – until they’re taken from us and we’re plunged into a harsh winter season. And then it’s difficult to see how any good could come from it.
But trust God to be in each of them with you, even if you don’t sense His presence. And know that He will never leave you in your dark days longer than necessary for Him to teach you important life lessons, like entrusting these days to Him.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV