Fall is a time of year when we often think of the changing of the seasons. Brightly colored leaves create beautiful canvases before us that cannot be ignored. So it seems a good time to consider why God would include seasons as one of the important parts of His Creative Plan.
In The Beginning …
One of the first things God established was the seasons.
And God said,
“Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens
to separate the day from the night.
And let them be for signs and for seasons
and for days and years.
And let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.”
And it was so.
What’s the Expiration Date on God’s Seasonal Plan?
How long with there be seasons and night and day? Did God have a Plan for that? He did. He shared it with a man named Noah after the flood that changed the earth.
While the earth remains,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
shall not cease.
God promised us two things: Consistency and Change. We can count on things to change!
How Do You Feel About Change?
Do you like variety in life or are you more of a rut person?
I find my perspective on how much change I want is tied to how I am feeling about what is happening now. I tend to worry about things.
When things are good, I worry they will never be this good again and everything will change. I don’t want things to change.
When things are bad, I worry things will always be this way. I want things to change right now!
God accommodated our desire for both consistency and change.
God Takes Things Up A Notch!
However, remember God is the One in Charge of Creation. So while He has given us certain rhythms of Life on earth, He has also promised us those rhythms are time limited.
One day God will take this earth out of its box and show off His Newly Created Home He made just for us. Let’s look at a preview of coming attractions.
As recorded in Revelations 22:5, John saw:
There will be no more night.
They will not need the light of a lamp
or the light of the sun,
for the Lord God will give them light!
No more night! I love this verse, since I am not a big fan of night. I loved it when we went to Alaska and it was still day light at 10 o’clock at night!
What else will be missing in this new world?
As recorded in Revelation 21:1,
when the first heaven and earth had passed away, “there was no longer any sea.”
So we see that some of the things God put in place at the beginning to divide things … the dividers … will be removed and things will be put back in place without division.
What else is missing in the new earth and new heaven?
According to Revelation 21:4,
“There will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain.”
Is that a change in season you can look forward to? If you are in an old earth season of death, mourning, crying and pain, you can be assured that season will change. And on the new earth, you will not be going back to another season like that. God will be permanently changing the calendar into one eternal, sun shiny day!
Death … Taking Off A Worn Out Coat
and Feeling the Sun!
Is death a separator? Yes, we perceive it to be. But is it? Can it be that we simply don’t understand it all now?
What has God taught us about the different seasons of this earthly body? When some part of this earthly body is not needed any more, it is gently discarded and we don’t even miss it because it is replaced with something new. Let’s look at a few examples.
First of all, are you the same person you were as a toddler … as a child … as a teenager … even as a young adult? In fact, you have already passed through those seasons and are still alive as you! There are parts of you that you carried into the next season. There are parts you left behind.
The placenta in which you lived comfortably before you saw the light of day was shed by your mother … and neither of you missed it.
You have lost miles and miles of skin in your life … the same with nails … and hair. Even the cells inside of your body have been replaced. And I’m betting you made no attempt to save them, put them in a box and place a marker nearby, detailing how long you had them. Nope, you just let them go and moved on.
Trees that shed their leaves are not dead. We will see new leaves next spring.
Let’s look at a few other coverings. Fruit … apples, bananas … peeled and the outer covering thrown aside. Nuts cracked open and the shells discarded with no thought. What is God teaching us? He provides what we need for the time we need it and then it is ok to let go of it.
He will faithfully bring the next season. The same with our earthly bodies. We will shed them like taking off the winter coat. In our next season we will not need it!
A Time For Every Purpose
The writer of Ecclesiastes put it this way.
For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven;
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace,
and a time to refrain from embracing …
Why Won’t God Tell Me More About Those Coming Attractions in My Life?
Does God tell us ahead of time what will happen to us in our times and seasons? Would you like to have known what was ahead of you before it happened?
When my mother was very old, I asked her if she would have like to have known ahead of time all that would happen to her in her life. She immediately answered, “Oh no! The not knowing was a Gift. The good times were so much better and I didn’t worry ahead of time about the bad times.”
God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 about His Plan for each season of our life.
“For I know the Plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
Plans to give you Hope and a Future.”
I once took great comfort in that scripture. Then one day I noticed that nowhere in that scripture does it say God will tell us in advance what His Plans for us are. He only assures us that He knows and that they are Good Plans, to give us a Hope and a Future.
Acts 1:7 records what Jesus said about our incessant “need to know.”
“It is not for you to know
times or seasons
that the Father has fixed
by His own Authority.”
Since God Makes Some Things Happen Regularly,
I Bet I Can Figure Him Out!
Should we spend our energy trying to figure out when this season will come to an end or just enjoy and work during this day?
My father had infinite curiosity about how things worked. He announced one day that he had observed people seemed to die close to their birthday. He thought he had figured out God’s Plan. Each time he spotted another one in the obituary, his belief grew.
The only down side was that as it got closer and closer to his birthday or for a period of time thereafter, he would get nervous. He was wondering if his time was near.
When my father finally died at age 96, it was at a time that was right smack dab in the middle of the time between his birthdays! I could just imagine God welcoming him into Heaven, saying, “Surprise! My Ways are not your ways!”
Because God knew us, He knew if we had too much information about the future, we’d be so busy trying to live in the future before it happened, that we would never enjoy or accomplish anything in this day. So in addition to seasons, He broke things down into months and days. A day is kind of a mini-season.
Today, A Present of A Mini-Season!
The Present is a Present! Jesus frankly told us that in this world, we would have trouble, but He didn’t want us to dwell on it and miss the Joys of the day.
In Matthew 6:34, it is recorded that Jesus said,
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
And in Matthew 6:25-26, it is recorded that Jesus said,
Therefore I tell you,
do not be anxious about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink,
not about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food,
and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air;
they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?
How Can I Get Through Life With Such Limited Information?
So if we can’t know the exact Plans God has for us and we can’t know the timing of everything, how can we function? Answer: one moment at a time, trusting God and obeying Him unconditionally step by step.
And we can remember His Goodness and Mercy to us in all the moments that led up to this one. We can remember the Truth of the lessons we learned in other seasons.
And we can enter into the very Presence of The One Who Knows Every Detail of Our Future Seasons. Really? Can we come into the very Presence of God? How?
David, the Psalmist told us in Psalm 100:4-5.
Enter His Gates with thanksgiving
and His Courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His Name.
For the Lord is good
and His Love endures forever;
His Faithfulness continues through all generations!
We enter God’s Presence through thanksgiving and praise! We remember how He provided for us in all the seasons of our life before this one and we thank Him. We praise Him for His Love!
How long does His Love last? Forever!
How long has His Faithfulness been going on and how long will it continue? Through all generations!
The Gift of Witnessing A Love That Would Not Let Go!
When my mother was close to shedding her earthly body, my father stood at her bedside and confessed to her he didn’t know what to do. She looked at him, and said, “Horace, we just have to trust Him. Think of all the ways He has taken care of us in our life. I’m certain He won’t fail us now!”
The certain knowledge of God’s Love and Faithfulness carried them through that season into the next.
Waiting For Spring Throughout A Long, Hard Winter!
We could not leave this topic without mentioning that Paul reminded us of a very important lesson about seasons. When the season is a tough one, it is easy to give up or long for the next season.
The cold of winter may seem unbearably long and spring seems far away. Or some people may find the summer heat unbearable and long for the cool fall breezes. But we are right where we are for a reason.
What was the principle Paul wanted us to remember?
And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up.
Paul knew what it was like to go through challenging seasons. Yet, he did not ask God to change the season. Let’s look again at what he said, as recorded in Philippians 4:11-13
I am not saying this because I am in need,
for I have learned to be content
whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need,
and I know what is is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content
in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry,
whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength!
God sets our seasons. He doesn’t adapt the season to our whims. He provides what we need to live in whatever season we are in.
This is what enabled Paul to say:
I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me
the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the Righteous Judge,
will award to me on that day —
and not only to me,
but also to all who have longed for His Appearing!
2 Timothy 4:7-8
Reflecting On The Seasons
Take a few moments now and reflect on the seasons of your life.
See afresh God’s Mercy, Grace and Love in all the seasons He brought you through.
Thank Him for the lessons He taught you.
Thank God that there are some parts of your life that are indeed over and you never have to go there again. Think of any hurtful parts as leaves that have fallen away and are not attached to you any more. Allow the fresh Wind of the Holy Spirit to gently blow away anything you do not need in this present time.
Thank God for all the beautiful blessings He has allowed you to keep, season after season. Celebrate the enduring parts of you that live on in His Beauty, season after season.
Experience the Joy of this moment, unafraid, unfettered by any regret or any worry about tomorrow.
Find contentment in being in His Presence with thanksgiving and with praise. Find peace in knowing you are in the Presence of the One Who knows every detail of your future. He knows the Plans He has for you and they are Great Plans!