Reflections on the changing seasons of our lives
“To everything there is a season and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1 AMP)
We’ve all faced times in our life when everything we attempt to do will seem to go wrong. We may be very confident that our faith is very strong and our commitment is deep, yet adversity comes knocking on our door. In such times, the power of prayer will always strengthen and stabilize us. Tears are cried and distress calls are aimed at Heaven’s throne for God to intervene. But we can’t pray away life’s seasons!
God has a purpose for not allowing us to be fruitful all the time. Real growth and maturity requires seasons of struggle as well as seasons of success. Our seasons of struggle destroy pride in our own abilities, increase our dependence on God and cause us to say, like Paul, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves....our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5). These are humbling experiences but we need them. Our life is like a tree. In winter, a tree silently revitalizes its strength, preparing for the next season of fruitfulness. As we look back on our life’s accomplishments, big and small, we will notice that they are seasonal. There are seasons of rain as well as sunshine and each season serves an important purpose. If you are like me, I’ve made mistakes and made a permanent decision in a temporary circumstance or a changing emotion.“The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). The word temporal means “subject to change”. Hold steady, it’s won’t always be this way! Sometimes the situation doesn’t call for action, it calls for patience and trust in God. So there is that season of BEING STILL AND WAITING. This is difficult for us to do living in this 2lst century. Paul writes: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worked for us.” In ways we cannot understand, God is making the circumstances we are in today work for our good. What we don’t realize is that even when it doesn’t look like He’s answering our prayer, He’s working, shifting, moving things around, just so He can answer us in His most excellent way at the right time. It’s worth the wait.
Perhaps you personally are experiencing an attack right now. Paul said: “I’ve had to …struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches” (2 Cor11:26-28 TM). How did Paul handles these experiences? He forgot the past, forgave those who forsook him, and looked forward to what was lying ahead. Paul refused to let what was done to him affect his outlook and his attitude. Now that’s the attitude we need.
We have so much to look forward to and so much we can accomplish that we must not let the past hinder us. We need to make up our mind and be fiercely committed to obeying God no matter what comes our way and no matter what anyone says.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). So let us get a vision for tomorrow and stop living in yesterday’s struggles. That season is over. But if you want to live there and can’t see your way out, the adversary will be there to try to take you down. And God means for you to trust Him through it, so He can take you out.
God knows your heart and He hears your cry. He will put His desires back into your spirit if you will allow Him to. Better days are coming! New seasons are on the horizon that will bring us just the right fruit for our good and for His Glory.
This column is the opinion of Rev. Carletta Billy of the Northwest Interdenominational Association.