More times than not, when we hear the word season, we think of the time of year. Especially for those of us who live where there are four specific seasons. Now depending on where you live, you could be enjoying the new life and growth that comes with spring. Warmth, increasing amounts of daylight and an abundance of flowers. Bluebirds and other migratory birds have returned, and the trees are sporting a hundred hues of green. Summer is almost here.
Think about it—the southern hemisphere is experiencing the opposite at the exact same time. Though the leaves are sporting their beautiful fall colors, they are dying and falling fast. Birds are leaving, flowers are past, and the amount of daylight is decreasing at a steady pace. Winter is coming.
So while some are enjoying spring and looking forward to summer, others are hanging on to the last bits of fall, dreading winter. I say this solely as a metaphor because, in the natural, I like snow and winter. But no one looks forward to struggles or the death that comes with a personal winter season. Unfortunately, though, it’s a reality we can’t avoid. The sudden passing of a loved one, the loss of a job or steady source of income, a sickness that lingers when the doctors have no answers, kids that have chosen not to serve the Lord. The list could go on, but you get the point. It’s winter! No trying to change it, speed it up, or moving to the equator will eliminate this cold and often cruel season in your life.
There will be times when negative situations last a while and other times when a severe storm seems to come right in the middle of a good season, like a flash flood. Both rock our worlds and challenge our faith. Yet, neither should permanently shipwreck us.
Conflicts and struggles, like seasons, will come to an end. Even if they take years before things change or improve. Life’s seasons don’t work on the set timetable of natural seasons. Sometimes they end sooner. Sometimes they seem eternal. Don’t lose heart.
I know several people who have been stuck in a perpetual season of winter. Some have been stretched beyond what they thought was possible and are holding onto their faith in Jesus. Others have begun to doubt if things will ever change and they have allowed their faith to falter. I want to encourage you to never give up. New seasons with fresh hope are a promise we can believe in. They will come.
I like what Job says in 13:15, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Sometimes, I think we read the Bible like a novel. The stories might move us, but we forget these were real people, with real lives who lived in this world facing the same battles we face.
Job endured more loss, heartache, and pain than we could ever imagine, yet he never stopped believing. Did he struggle with the why? Yes! Were his trials hard? Extremely! Was his season long? Very! His wife even encouraged him to curse God and die. Ouch!
Do you know what happened? Job held on during that long and stormy season. He came out stronger. His faith grew, and he had a better understanding of the awesomeness of his God. Spring came!
Over our tenure of serving the Lord, we’ve had some long stretches of heartache and pain. Some seasons looked and felt like they were never going to end, but God proved Himself to be faithful. Things didn’t improve immediately, but He gave us the ability to trust in Him through it. Things may not have turned out how we wanted them to or changed as quickly as we would have liked. Yet we grew in those seasons, more than in the times when everything was going well.
We learned firsthand that His ways are higher than ours and that He always has a purpose for every season. We also found that purpose usually includes more people than just ourselves.
There were times when we were able to overcome, in part, because of other’s faith and watching God help them through. Beloved, we’re not in this race alone. We can stand in the gap for each other and be an encouragement to those who are in a different season than we are. If you’re stuck in a season that’s trying to destroy you, look up. Realize you’re not alone. And remember—your faith can help others hold onto theirs! Don’t let circumstances rob you of your faith. Despite what it might look or feel like at the moment, better days are ahead.
The faith and trust that we gained through our previous seasons of struggle are helping us to believe God in our current situation. Do we like it? Of course not. Will God be glorified in it? Absolutely!
Psalm 148:8 says, “Fire, and hail; snow, and vapor; stormy wind fulfilling his word…” Next time you’re in a storm or a season of struggle, remember God has a purpose and it will ultimately accomplish His will . . . not only in your life but also in the lives of those who God wants you to impact for good.