The Seasons of Life
By Mara Hodler
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
–Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
This is a big life lesson. It is really good news … and not such great news at the same time. Regardless of how you may feel at the moment, what season of life you are currently living through, you can probably expect a change at some point, because, as we know, seasons come and go.
When King Solomon wrote the preceding scripture, he gave a lot of examples of the seasons and ways our lives can change:
A time to be born and a time to die
A time to plant and a time to uproot
A time to kill and a time to heal
A time to tear down and a time to build
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to mourn and a time to dance
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing
A time to search and a time to give up
A time to keep and a time to throw away
A time to tear and a time to mend
A time to be silent and a time to speak
A time to love and a time to hate
A time for war and a time for peace.
–Ecclesiastes 3:2–8 NIV
One of the most beautiful promises in the Bible is given in the same chapter: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)
I like the part that says “no one can fathom.” When I was a teenager, I had so many plans and ideas of what I wanted my life to look like. Most of the ideas I had were good, or at least okay. I wasn’t (only) dreaming of being a celebrity or millionaire. I also wanted to be able to rush to anywhere in the world that needed help. I wanted to help orphans and wipe out poverty. If and when I had kids, I wanted to raise them in an African village where we all worked together to help a community thrive. That’s what I wanted. It really sounded like a good dream; it still does sometimes.
But God had a plan for me that I did not fathom.
I’m still watching that plan develop, but I’ve learned enough to know that God’s design is so much more far-reaching than anything I could fathom. I’ve learned that God is present in both times of sowing and times of reaping. And something else I’ve come to realize is that both seasons are repeating.
A farmer plants his crops every spring and harvests them every fall. Each year. He doesn’t get upset that he’s planting again another year. He doesn’t scream out in frustration, I just did this last year! Why again? In the fall when it’s time to gather in the crops, he doesn’t tell himself, Yay! I’ll never have to do that again! The farmer knows the cycle will repeat every year, and he’s okay with that.
In that way, we should all make peace with the seasons in our lives. There is a time to laugh, and a time to cry, a time to sow, and a time to reap, a time to give, and a time to receive. It’s all gonna happen.
In Texas, where I live, the weather is crazy. One day you’re in shorts. The next day you’re pulling out your winter gear because there’s a cold front coming through. On the blistering hot days, of which today is one, it’s hard to remember that it also gets cold around here—even freezing cold.
It’s the same with the seasons of life. When the sad times come, it’s hard to remember that there’s also a lot of happiness. When things disappoint, it’s easy to forget about all the things that have worked out smoothly.
To God, one season isn’t more precious than another. He can use each season in our lives to bring about His design. Sometimes I think that God is smiling on me when things are going great, and that a trial or misfortune means I have fallen out of His favor. But experience has taught me that this is not so. A great artist will use lovely, bright colors—reds, yellows, purples, and blues—to convey inspiration, but not without the contrasts of black, the muted grays, and the blurred whites.
We need to trust the Artist. His work speaks for itself, and time and again, He has proven that He does indeed make everything beautiful in His time. Each of our lives is no exception to the high and low seasons. And neither is it an exception to the promise that it will be beautiful in His time.
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