I lived in Phoenix Arizona for 7 years. After spending most of my life in Wausau Wisconsin, it was a welcome change. My friends and family in Wisconsin were jealous when, in January, they complained of snow and ice and I shivered with the temp in the 60s. But it didn’t take long for the other two seasons of Hot and Hotter to wear on me. Sure, when you are knee deep in snow you long for the sunshine and warmth, but something just always felt weird to me, and when asked what I missed the most about Wisconsin my two answers were my family and the seasons.
I love the change in seasons. On hot July days, I know I only have to hold out for a few more weeks and the temperature will start to go down. Or the fall, when the leaves are changing and making a gorgeous landscape perfect for a Sunday drive. The air is crisp and cool. Even winter, yes, I said it — winter. I am giddy EVERY time the snow falls whether it be November or April (yes, I am that person.) The change in seasons reminds me that there is always something new coming, that this too shall pass and we only need hold out just a little longer.
Recently the idea of seasons has been burning in me. I reread Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
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.
Too often I think we rush through our seasons. Just like those who want to rush away the winter months or even those who prefer to do without the heat of summer. We forget to take the time in that season for its purpose. In verse 4 it says, “A time to grieve and a time to dance” yet I have met so many people afraid of doing either of these things. They are in a season of mourning yet refuse to allow it to run its course. They try to rush through and make themselves happy again instead of being okay to mourn. Maybe it is a loss of a loved one, a miscarriage, an unexpected loss of a job or a situation you had all your hopes in that just didn’t work out the way you planned. Society tells us to buck up, get over it and move on! Yet, there is a season to mourn.
Coupled with that season is the season to dance. We were never meant to stay in one season for too long. I love winter, but even I begin to long for the warmth and new life of spring. If we don’t allow ourselves to move past the season, when it’s time, then we miss out on the joy of the dance. To be joyful and praise God for the things He has done in us. The previous season has ended and we can enter this new season as a different person ready to grow and learn and continue on towards our next season.
I remember days when I lived in Arizona. I would sit comfortably in my car with the sun pouring in my windows while my mom would tell me about the below zero temperatures they were experiencing in Wisconsin. It seemed unreal to me. Everyone is not in the same season. It did no good for me to tell my mom the temperature in Phoenix, yet don’t we do this to each other? We say things like “Well, you just need to get over it” or “God won’t give you more than you can handle” and think we are being helpful. What was encouraging was when my mom had a trip planned to see me and I could say, “Don’t worry, Mom, you will be here with me in 3 weeks and then we will sit in the sun and relax!” To encourage someone is to remind them of where they are headed. A new season is coming just around the corner and that they will make it, not to demand they change to your season right now.
A few years ago, spring came too early. The apple trees began to blossom and when everyone thought that it was wonderful, a freeze came through and ruined all of those apple blossoms. The apple orchards struggled that year to maintain their income as they suffered the loss of an early thaw. When you force the change in season on someone, you can cause damage. If you have a friend in a hard season, love them encourage them, sit with them, remind them of where they are heading.
What season are you in? Are you dreading this moment? Are you seeing the benefit of this current season or just wishing it was over? Remember, it is only a season. The seasons change, this is why God gave them to us. To remind us and give us hope that this season will come to an end. If you are in a season of joy and peace, bask in it. Enjoy it! Glean as much as you can during this time. Dance! Our seasons will come and they will go, but the God who orders the seasons will never change.