Every Season

There’s a season for everything

    and a time for every matter under the heavens:

    a time for giving birth and a time for dying,

    a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,

    a time for killing and a time for healing,

    a time for tearing down and a time for building up,

    a time for crying and a time for laughing,

    a time for mourning and a time for dancing,

    a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,

    a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,

    a time for searching and a time for losing,

    a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,

    a time for tearing and a time for repairing,

    a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,

    a time for loving and a time for hating,

    a time for war and a time for peace.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Today is the first day of Autumn, at least by the calendar. The weather even seems to agree!

Seasons change. Little is as predictable as that. Snow follows turning leaves that follow scorching heat that follow buds on the trees. Even on sunny tropical islands, there is a season for hurricanes.

Our lives have seasons just as the climate does. There are seasons we expect: school, work, parenting, retirement. They come and go predictably. There are seasons that catch us off-guard: unemployment, heartache, illness. There are seasons that seem to last forever: ironically, both being a teenager and parenting a teenager seem to fall into this category. Even a season when everything goes wrong for a few months can seem longer than a year of business as usual.

And then there are seasons that, in a puzzling kind of way, seem to fade in and out. Just when we think the season is over, it comes right back. Take grief, for instance: it’s there and then it’s not and then it shows up again, like these summer thunderstorms I thought we were done with for the year. 

Even our faith has seasons. There may be times when we feel unshakably confident in what we believe. There may be other times when we’re in a season of self-examination, trying to figure out if what we’ve believed still works for us. There may even be times when we find ourselves in a season of doubt and feeling like we’re just going through the motions of faith. And then suddenly we may be back in a season of trust and deep meaning in faith.

Seasons come and go. God does not. God is with us in the sunshine and in the rain, at work and at play, when delighted or depressed. There is a season for everything under heaven, declares Ecclesiastes, and in that declaration we can hear that none of those seasons is too much for God. Whether we are building or tearing down, crying or laughing, loving or hating, God is with us.

O God, in all the seasons of my life, help me to trust that I am not alone, but you are with me. When I face a difficult season, help me. When I enjoy an easy season, let me give you praise. Amen.