People joke quite often about the weather here in South Carolina. You can actually enjoy all four seasons in one week! I kind of like that we get a variety here, but I’ll admit, I’m really ready for some stability. I packed away my winter clothes, and then, wouldn’t you know it? Lows in the thirties.
There’s something to be said for being steady in every season. We all go through different seasons of life from our youth to marriage, raising kids and sending kids off, empty nest, retirement, old age. We also go through different seasons in ministry, times of sickness or grief, times of prosperity and times of need, or perhaps seasons of preparation for what is to come.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV).
Knowing that we will indeed go through different seasons in life, how can we navigate the ups and downs of life with peace and stability? With faith and faithfulness?
I have been praying about this very thing over the last several weeks. The transitions between seasons are so difficult. My last child is graduating in May. I will no longer have a child in school with me as I teach for the first time in seventeen years. I have new opportunities in ministry opening up to me, but I have also had some setbacks that the Lord has yet to overcome. I’m still waiting on some things to come to pass.
And then today I thought about a tree. Trees go through all of the seasons. We have a pecan tree lane that leads to our home, and I love it when those trees turn green again this time of year. They have been so barren and dull all winter. Now they are again bursting with life. But the funny thing is, they’ve had fruit on them since November. All through the cold time of the year when the trees no longer look pretty, they are full of fruit.
What about me? When things aren’t looking all that pretty in my life, am I still bearing fruit? During the transitions and the setbacks am I still trusting God and walking in the Spirit? Am I still prepared to share God’s love and truth with someone? During the times of sickness or grief, do I still believe that God is with me?
If you have read this blog for very long, you know how much I love the Psalms. I read them daily and journal my prayers back to God from them. Psalm 1 is a favorite of mine, and I just turned there again when I thought of the tree.
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3).
The tree yields its fruit in season. So does that mean we only have to bear fruit when everything is in season? Of course not! The reason the tree is able to bear fruit in the appropriate season is because it is planted by the stream night and day. That is a metaphor for being rooted and grounded in the Lord and in His Word.
There have been times in my life when it seemed that God was working and moving in ways I could hardly believe. I look back and I am amazed at all that God has allowed me to do. And yet there have been times when I was in a season of transition or preparation, and things seemed quiet. There have also been times when I knew the Lord was working and then it just stopped. Setbacks. Frustration. Obstacles.
I believe the first thing we should do is look at ourselves. Maybe I have allowed some sin in my life that has interrupted the flow of God’s plans for me. Sin separates us from God. If God has convicted me of some sin and I haven’t repented (turned away from it), then He may not continue to use me. God is looking for holy vessels through which He can minister to others. I don’t have to be perfect, but when the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, I need to listen and obey the Lord. Many times this will release the flow of God’s work in my life again.
If we don’t know of any unrepented sin in our lives, but we still seem to be in a difficult season, then it could be a spiritual attack of the enemy. Spiritual battles are fought with the spiritual weapon of prayer. Get into your prayer closet and seek the Lord. You can read my previous posts on spiritual warfare and breakthrough here.
Most of all, know that God is with us. We may be going through a time of testing. We may be in a season of preparation. Maybe God has us right where He wants us, and we just need to be still. Worship the Lord for who He is and stay grounded in His Word. There is peace in His presence.
If we stay faithful to God during uncertain seasons, repenting of any sin, battling the enemy in prayer, and grounding ourselves in the Word, He will bring us through with stability and peace. Who knows? There may be a sunny day just around the corner.
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 3:2).