There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 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…
Many times, we get impatient with our lives. We look at our calendars, note our wrinkles, complain about how long a situation or state lasts, and then fall into despair. We forget that God knows what He’s doing; that He understands everything that’s going on. We can rest on the verse that says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Still, we all undergo different seasons. Even the best Christians have seasons like autumn when it seems that our days are not getting better, but leading to harder, colder ones. There are also seasons of spring when the best things blossom in our lives, and we want them to last: a profitable job or career, a fruitful ministry, an exciting romance—just to name a few.
But things DO change. Suddenly that romance isn’t exciting anymore. Suddenly, we lose our jobs. Suddenly, the ministry we thought was fruitful leads to the worst heartache imaginable. We are plunged into winter.
When things like these happen, what is the best response? We can take our cue from Paul who said, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13). He also says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) And, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Paul identified contentment as a key for embracing his seasons. He pointed to God’s strength that would allow him to go through his seasons with an “I can do this!” mindset. He identified rejoicing as a choice he would take, whatever the season. He identified prayer as a weapon to combat worry. He highlighted thanksgiving as an attitude to have when we pray. He spoke of the peace of God that would guard our hearts and minds.
We can look at each season in our lives as gifts to unwrap. There is always something new to learn – about ourselves and about God. There is always something about Christ’s character we can embrace and something in our character to cultivate. We can choose to see our situations as such, learn from our circumstances, and be thankful to God in everything.
The Lord makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecc.3:11). We can stand on the faithfulness of our Creator and trust His heart for us, whatever season we’re at.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.