Wednesday, 4 January 2012

To every thing there is a season

Happy New Year! 2012 has arrived, and 2011 is gone.

We were blessed last Lord's Day, in our Church, to have our good friend Mr Jeremy Brooks preaching on the first Lord's day of the New Year.  He brought to us, as our motto text...

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the sun."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

I really thought that this was an incredibly apt verse for me, at this season of my life.  We have had so much going on in the last few months, and plenty set to happen in the ones to come!

We have just moved house....we are about to start a new school year....we have holiday's coming up....we have a baby due.  Even day to day life throws up many different events and incidents.  It is a wonderfully reassuring thought, that God has ordained these things in our life, and that He is the author of all things.  He has a design for our lives.  A design that is for our good and for His glory.  Does it mean that we "get it" all the time?  No!  But, it is enough for me to know, that His way is perfect.

I think that when we think of the different seasons in nature, it gives us a fair idea of the different "seasons" that we can, too, experience in our lives.

Spring.  It's my favourite season in nature.  It's a season of new beginnings, of everything becoming new and fresh, after the cold, harsh winter months.

I like new beginnings.  I like, as simply as anything, a new day.  As Anne of Green Gables said

"tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it"!!!

I find myself failing....often.  And, to know that we can start again the next day, is like spring happening on a daily basis.  The past is the past, and today has so much potential.  We need to embrace all that a new day offers.

The best part about spring?....spiritually speaking? that God is ready and willing to forgive us for past mistakes, and wipes our sin and failures away, so that a new, spring-like day is even possible.  Such an amazing and wonderful thought.

I like the "spring" of starting a new schedule, a new plan, a new curriculum.  The "spring" of having the chance to do a better job of something.  The "spring" of doing something that I have never done before, in order to make life better.

So many "spring-like" opportunities which we can grasp, with two outstretched and welcoming hands - embracing someone with energy, joy and passion.

Summer.  In England, I can find this season a bit too hot! *grins* (spot the Scot!)  If we think of it as a season, though, we think of maturity - of blooming and growing - of warmth, and establishment.

This is when we are able to get our roots down.  Refining and developing skills or abilities that we already have.  Making improvement in areas of our life that already exist.

Getting deeper into God's Word.  Growing closer to the Lord.  Studying Him, learning about Him.

In the home, we can be developing relationships with our spouse, our children or our wider family.  Working on areas that we see need to be strengthened.  These special people that we have known for so long, and may take for granted.  They need to be deepened and nourished.  This doesn't happen without work, for "summer" is a time where we need to work.  A time when the conditions are just right to get things moving along in the right direction.

We need to identify these areas, and make them bloom, like a beautiful rose - opening up, petal by petal - to create beauty in our home and life.

Autumn - or, for you foreigners, Fall!  It's that time where we reap the fruit and bounty, of all those things that we have lovingly, and devotedly, been putting effort into.  For days - for months - maybe, even for years.  Things that finally come to fruition, after patience and hard work.  

Spiritually, these may be areas that we thought that we would never see fruit in.  Maybe, a child finally behaving in a way that we have been training them in, for what seems like forever.  Maybe it's something in our own life, that has been a struggle and a challenge.  Sin that we have been battling with, and that with God's help we have overcome.  Maybe it's a child who has come to faith in Christ, after years of prayer and tears.  Perhaps, it's a practical skill that we have mastered, or improved in.

Whatever it is, it is a time that the Lord blesses us with.  A time to give thanks for the fruit that is produced.  A time to see the blessings that have come to pass after waiting and watching.

Winter.  Cold.  Barren.  Dead.  Depressing.

Maybe these are words that make you think of winter.  Maybe it's a season of your life, where you think there is no growth.  That, in fact, you think that there is complete death of an attribute, skill, relationship, emotion.

But, do you know, winter is not a time of death.  There is an illusion of death.  Everything seems to be ended, and no fruit is obvious.  Winter, however, is a necessary, and God-given, time.

Plants need that time of barrenness - of the dying off of the old. Of the coldness settling into the branches.  It's a time that is needed, in order for new growth to occur in the spring.  In order for damaging disease and problems to be eradicated, in order for things to begin anew.

It;s a hard time in our life.  Spriitually, feeling death and barreness.  But EVERY season is from the Lord.  He may have allowed the "winter" of our life, in order for us to see afresh the new life that we have in Christ.  For us to die to the old self.  To put off old habits and behaviours.  To deaden them with a coldness, in order to awaken with the warmth of a "spring-time" found in a renewed fellowship with the Lord.  A throwing ourselves upon the Giver of life, to rise us, as it were, from the spiritual winter that we have been struggling through.

You see, the thing is about winter, is that the life never goes.  It is still there - hidden under the cold and barren  landscape.  Trees and plants just waiting - waiting for that warmth to return.  For the winter to pass.  For the nourishing rains and sun to bring life back.  For the leaves to bud - slowly, but surely.

We need the "Son" and the "reign".  We need to have Christ taking that centre-place, in order for growth to return.  We need to seek Him first, and "all these things shall be added unto you".

Whatever season you are going through (and you may be in different seasons, in different areas!), the Lord is still there.  The Lord knows your joys and your struggles.  He has a plan, that is perfect.

My prayer for you all, is that you see Christ  in your life.  No matter what "season" you are in, that you remember that God is the author of your "story" - that He is allowing that season for your good and for His glory.

Happy New Year!

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