I have heard it said that if anything is constant in life, it is change. To some extent I agree. We are in the process of transition from the high temperatures and humidity of summer into the cool crisp days of fall. The seasons of nature are a reminder that change is a part of life. We can either embrace this change, or fight it, nonetheless change continues on. The question then becomes, “is change good or bad?”. It depends. Man-ordained change for the sake of change is typically not good. It can lead us away from God and into confusion. However, God-ordained change is always good. If we are obedient in this kind of change, it can lead to freshness, excitement, and new life. If we are disobedient to God-ordained change it can lead to spiritual stagnation and death.
In Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV) Solomon writes
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV)
He then proceeds in verses 2-8 to list 14 life events where change occurs. For example, in the first half of verse 2, he states that there is “a time to be born, and a time to die”. We see in verse 1 that the principle of seasons and timing apply to “everything” and “every matter” under heaven. It applies to our lives as individuals. It applies to our lives together as a church. Just as the seasons of nature flow continuously from Fall to Winter to Spring to Summer, the seasons of life flow continually in the life of the believer and the life of the church. We will now take a closer look at these seasons.
In the Winter months, everything appears to be dead.
On cloudy overcast days, everything can look bleak and barren. We can relate this to the times of trial and testing that we are called to endure as followers of Christ. These are the days where all hope appears to be lost. Keyword “appears”. When we look at a dormant tree during the winter months, it appears to be dead. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. There are times in our lives when it appears that we have been forsaken, forgotten, and abandoned by God, however appearances can be deceiving. In the winter seasons of life, we must hang on to God and hold on tight to the promises found in His Word regardless of how it looks or how we may feel. It is during these seasons of trial and testing that God is at work in our lives in deep and mysterious ways that we cannot fully understand. It is during this time that we are called to walk by faith and not by sight. Thank God these seasons don’t last forever. After we have stood strong during these times of trial and testing, we then enter a time of transition, Spring.
In the summer months, everything is alive.
Flowers are blooming and plants in the garden are producing fruit. The days are long, sunny and full of outdoor activities that we enjoy. We can relate this to what we would call our “mountaintop” experiences with God. During these times, we feel his presence, and by all accounts are on top of the world. We seem to be growing by leaps and bounds in our faith. God is using us to lead others to Christ and disciple them in the faith. It is during times like these that we feel truly alive and in tune with the purposes of God. We wish these times would last forever, but we find out that they don’t. After a season of being on the mountaintop, we find ourselves entering a time of transition back into a period of trial and testing. This time of transition is Fall.
Fall and Spring are transitional seasons.
God knows best. It would not be healthy for the plants and animals or for us if we transitioned directly from the heat of summer to the cold of winter overnight. We would all be sick! In the spiritual realm it would not be healthy for us to transition abruptly from a beautiful mountaintop experience into a deep, dark trial overnight. Nor would it be healthy for us to move directly from a trial to a mountaintop. God knows that we need periods of transition. This gives us time to adjust to the changes.
Does God have you in a time of transition? Maybe you have just completed a severe period of trial and testing and you are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In your heart, hope is rising, Spring is on the way. Or possibly you have been on the mountaintop with God but you feel things are starting to dry up. Things are not as they once were. You have entered Fall, which is a transition into Winter, the time of trial, testing, and deepening of your faith.
As I close, let me say, whatever season God may have you in today, you can trust Him. He knows what He is doing. If we will cooperate with Him in what He is doing, He will use this process to grow us as disciples of Jesus so that we will “bear much fruit” in due season. Trust Him, cling to His Word, and you will find God to be faithful and good, no matter what the season.