December 30th, 2019

Seasons (Thriving in Hard Times Week 4)

My heart sank when my co-worker told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Since you were so close to Tammy, I wanted to call. I’d like to hear her story.”For everything there is a season,a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.A time to plant and a time to harvest.A time to kill and a time to heal.A time to tear down and a time to b (1)

I never mind sharing my bestie’s story as it’s one filled with bravery and faith, but I would have preferred it to be under other circumstances.

Last week my dad’s oldest brother and his family were on the top of my prayer list as each day he was one step closer to heaven. And now, well, he’s in heaven with my dad so my prayers are for those he left behind.

In my twenties, cancer was something old people got and the people closest to me I feared to lose were my grandparents. Now, in my mid-forties, people my age (or their kids) are fighting cancer. Death, unfortunately, seems to come too often, too soon. I’m more likely to go to a funeral than a wedding, to take someone a meal who has cancer rather than because she had a baby.

It’s all about seasons.

The wisest man in the Bible, King Solomon, explained this in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT):

 

 

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

The first verse refers not only to a set amount of time but to an appointed time. Yes, there will be periods of our lives that are filled with death, pain, tearing down, even hate. And these times are appointed by God.

“But why would a good God do that?” you may ask.

He is not the instigator, but He does allow it. For our good. For His glory.

Death is an awful thing for those who loved the person, but the hope of heaven is the purpose of our faith. To go to be with Jesus is to go home.

What I love about this passage is Solomon reminds us it’s not one-sided. Though it may feel like it, it’s not simply hardships. There’s birth, planting, healing, building, mending, and love. Sometimes we become so comfortable we forget that one season cannot exist without the other. There is no healing if pain doesn’t exist. Mending only occurs when something is torn. Peace comes after conflict. The best things can be built from the ruins of others. Even laughter feels so much deeper and needed after a good cry.

If you are in a season that’s stretching you, a season that hurts, keeping connected with the Lord through prayer, reading His Word, and fellowshipping with His people will remind you of what’s to come. As I read the Bible, I underline God’s promises of His faithfulness. My social media feed is dotted with friends with new grandbabies. Oh, what a sight! Although I can’t imagine my kids being parents, I know one day down the road they may be. I do love the season I’m in with my teens now…a season of watching them spread their wings and fly. A season of becoming mentor mom and friend. A season of beginnings and firsts for them. A season of watching God form them into adults. I thought it would break my heart. Instead, it fills my heart with joy.

And the blessing of having friends a decade or two younger than me? A season of weddings is starting up again. I even get to order a bridesmaids dress for myself this week, which is something I haven’t done in thirteen years.

In Matthew 28, Jesus gave his disciples the great commission.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)

I love that His last words are that of encouragement. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. We may not know what season is to come, how long it will last, or if it will end the way we want, but we can be assured He will be with us, in every season. That is what makes each sweet, in their own way.

What season do you find yourself in? What do you need to do to walk through it victoriously? Cling to God? Reach out to friends? Study His Word more deeply? What season do you see on the horizon? What blessings will God bringing through it?

Walk boldly, my friend, through every season. The God of the universe not only ordained it, He walks beside you through it.

 

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