“There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
I’m so thankful for the actual seasons that God has given to remind us of this eternal truth! Of course, my husband would argue that the seasons are a part of the curse. As he will tell you, when God first created the world, Adam and Eve were naked in the garden…which means “warm” is the perfect temperature. 🙂 Either way, we serve a God who redeems and I am so thankful for the gift that even this fallen world is!
Back to seasons. Each season has parts I like and parts I don’t. Winter brings a blanket of white that I can’t help but see as beautiful. A cup of hot coffee, a fireplace and a good snowfall create moments that truly warm my heart. But the cold…the bitter cold…I can do without, for sure. Spring brings signs of new life. There is a fresh smell in the air and the buds that give way to full bloom are a sight for the eyes. But allergies seem to kick up, too, and the eyes that are trying to enjoy the blooms are quick to grow itchy and watery. Summer warmth is the best. Shorts and t-shirts are my favorite things to wear…but the humidity, mosquitos and bugs keep my heart from idolizing summer…at least in the mid-west. Fall rounds out the seasons and God gives us His own fireworks of color; not to mention that pumpkin spice is the best flavor around! Of course, the days grow noticeably shorter and the cold that starts to creep in is not always a welcome friend in our house. All that to say, each season has its blessings and its struggles.
Isn’t life the same? Our days are filled with both joy and sorrow, peace and trouble, new and old, exciting and mundane, good and hard. On the one hand, we can echo the words of the psalmist when he says, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” (Psalm 16:6). Yet, we also know well what Job means when he said, “But humans are born for trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7).
God has a simple answer for all of life’s seasons…a simple answer for how we are to respond no matter what each day brings:
“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Of course, “simple” does not mean easy, nor does it mean capable. The words may be simple to understand but that does not mean we have the ability to carry this out on our own. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we walk in this truth no matter the season of life. Only because we are IN Christ Jesus can we truly rejoice and pray because our sins are forgiven and Jesus intercedes before the Father on our behalf. Only because of the work Jesus accomplished on the cross can we truly give thanks in everything…because, no matter what comes our way, our soul is secure and our salvation is settled. No one can “pluck us out of the Father’s hands” (John 10:28).
And it is with these truths in mind that we begin this week saying good-bye to three of our kids. Samuel and Micah headed to South Dakota State University (SDSU) on Sunday (we know we’ll see them more often, as it’s only an hour and a half away!) and today we take Faith down to Spurgeon Bible College in Kansas City, MO (and we will not see her nearly as often). There is a level of sadness to know that all eight spots won’t be filled around the kitchen table most nights but we truly give thanks for all that God is doing and all that He will do. We are thankful for those kids who are heading “off” and thankful for those that are staying. We have new opportunities to support each other from afar as well as to grow closer to those that are near. We will miss them dearly, but it is because they are loved dearly…and that is a gift in and of itself!
I don’t know what your next season holds (although, I’d love for you to share about it in the comments!) but I pray we would all find our hope in Christ and our joy in the strength He provides! “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58