Although weather conditions may differ from place to place, no matter where we live there is some visible sign of the transition of seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter. The gift of seasons is a living metaphor for life and faith for all of us. As we live by the natural seasons, so we must recognize that there are seasons in our spiritual lives as well. Every category in the life cycle — relationships, church, work, school, etc. — all have their designated “season.” Clearly we know there comes a time in our lives when we move to a different location, take on a new job, retire or receive a promotion, grow a family or lose someone, even change our minds or our daily routines. Some of these “seasons” are healthy and life-giving while others are difficult and require courage or determination.
Life is all about change. We all experience change, but do we like it? So often the answer is NO! Paula D’Arcy, in her book Waking Up to This Day, reminds us that we want to cling to our familiar, well-worn versions of things and resist what’s new. But in avoiding life’s passages, avoiding change, we also avoid growth. She reminds us that we “cannot change the unchangeable, but we can affect change by how we respond.” She writes: “Actually, change is a reflection of the progression of life which, in God’s wisdom, God laid out for each of us. God created a season for everything and we must recognize when something or someone’s time has passed we must move into the next season.” She is telling us that ithin each life’s season there is birthing and dying and so we need to make peace with change. To quote D’Arcy again: “Making peace with change is not just about accepting the inevitable that things move on and fluctuate. It is definitely about the trust and willingness to be a full participant in the life I’ve been given.” Rachel Naomi Remen wrote a thoughtful statement on the value of seeing life this way. She wrote: “A human life has seasons much as the earth has seasons, each one with its own particular power and beauty. Life is neither linear nor stagnant. It is movement.”
We read in Ecclesiastes 3:
Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.
He sets the time for birth and the time for death,
the time for planting and the time for pulling up,
the time for killing and the time for healing,
the time for tearing down and the time for building.
He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy,
the time for mourning and the time for dancing,
the time for making love and the time for not making love,
He sets the time for finding and the time for losing,
the time for saving and the time for throwing away,
the time for tearing and the time for mending,
the time for silence and the time for talk.
He sets the time for love and the time for hate,
the time for war and the time for peace.
Meditate on these familiar words. They clearly remind us that God has designated specific times in our lives and asks us to live each one fully and wisely. In each earthly experience through which we pass we must appreciate its own unique opportunity and challenge. These times can be difficult or painful, can be touched with success or insecurity, rewarding or challenging. No matter what the situation, we dare not approach them with our own wisdom alone, but we must seek the guidance of God’s wisdom that knows the purpose for everything. However we know that in living the seasons of life there is often the difficult time of waiting for God to give us the wisdom we need
Each season brings an opportunity to learn something more about God! Sometimes we seem to have no control over things; we feel as if we are a “victim” of circumstances. Not true. No matter what season we are experiencing there is a movement underground that we cannot see. God is at work within us at all times, re-creating us — asking us to cooperate by:
- pruning and trimming relationships that are no longer life-giving,
- slowing down and resting for a while,
- giving energy to new things never tried before,
- realizing that where new life is moving we need to follow the focus,
- waiting patiently for an answer to our prayer; sometimes waiting for God to carry out God’s plan for us,
- and many other responses.
God continually urges us to accept our situation whenever and wherever we can, live fully in our current “season” and accept what that entails graciously. Rather than seeing problems and negativity, we focus on ways that God is providing for us through every occurrence. So often we want to hang on to what is comfortable and easy. However, we don’t hear this idea as being God’s will for anyone. God never promised us that we’ll have more joy than pain or that our troubles will be conveniently spared. Someone’s beautiful reply when confronted with a serious health situation was “Love is carrying me through.”
That’s worth remembering! Through every “season” God’s love is carrying us through!
Sister Lauretta Leipzig