Seasons bring change throughout the year. From fall to winter, spring to summer, seasons carry us through time. Nature’s seasons teach us that life keeps moving and so should we.
Spiritually we also live in seasons. We can experience dark and cold spiritual winters and renewing Springs. All of our spiritual seasons are growing seasons. We can also have shorter seasons of contentment, worry, joy, stress and gentle, peaceful seasons.
Thankfully, and sadly, no season lasts forever. Here in Spain, the natural summers do seem to go on forever. Hot, dry, long, blistering days. But, eventually, they do end. Winter eventually comes with its cold, wind and shorter, darker days. Until summer returns, once again, with more oppressive heat.
So it is with our spirit-led seasons. Some seem like they will never end, whether they are good or challenging ones. But the Bible tells us that ** this too shall pass**. So sooner or later our personal seasons will change.
We all go through these different seasons with the Lord. We have seeking seasons, waiting seasons, joyful seasons and heart wrenching seasons. The length of each of these seasons depends on the Lord, but, they also depend on us and how we ‘weather’ them.
Being miserable in a rainy or too hot season can make it seem like it is lasting longer than needed. On the other hand, being joyful during all the cold, wind and snow makes the winters fly by. So it is with our inner spiritual seasons. Being open to the Lord’s work in us, in whatever form it comes in, can help us to weather our changing seasons.
My own experience is that I can cut a season a bit short by choosing a better attitude. A tough spiritual season can be easier to bear if I look at it through the Lord’s eyes. Ignoring His perspective can make a dark season go on and on. A prayerful and contented attitude can shorten a stormy season in minutes. Or the season itself may not change but the way we walk through it can lift us up above the dark clouds and give us new insight. From our new vantage point, we can see the rainbow and the bright new day on the other side of it.
I have come to appreciate the tougher seasons because I know that the Lord is doing something amazing, in me or in my world. He is doing something so beyond my physical, human abilities and understanding. If I can just get my mind and heart in line with His plan, I know that I will love the results and be able to enjoy a deeper walk with Him.
Some of the verses I try to cling to and we can all focus on when we are in our least favorite seasons:
**But godliness ( being like God) with contentment ( not trying to rush out of a season), is great gain (spiritual growth). ** 1 Timothy 6:6 (parentheses mine)
** Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (put God first in regards to our feelings, faith, and thoughts in this season) This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. ** Matthew 22:37-39 (because we don’t know what season others are living right now. We should be kind to them no matter what we are going through. We shouldn’t try to pull them into our storm.) (parentheses mine)
** Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ** John 14:27 (unrest, worry and fear can keep a tough season going until we learn to let these emotions and reactions go.) (parentheses mine)
The simple truths of God are meant to be pondered and practiced. His truths are not badges we wear on our shirt, they are guides to living a life similar to that of Jesus Christ’s time here on earth. We are called to deepen our understanding of them during our uncomfortable seasons and to be willing to allow Him to lead us to a greater manifestation of them. Shutting the Lord out of our hurting seasons makes them harder to bear and leaves us no better off for going through them.
There are some seasons that test our faith until it seems like we will lose it. They examine every corner of our heart as the Lord reveals to us all the areas that we have not yet surrendered to Him. They are seasons that force us to face our shortcomings and the weakest, darkest corners in us that leave us grasping for His light and hope.
Though any particular season may last longer than any of us want it to, they are the seasons that reveal a part of God that is more impacting, seasons that open our eyes and heart to a greater understanding of who He is and who we are. A revealing that changes the course of our lives to live deeper, stronger, bolder and more intimately with the Lord. We learn to love the Lord for who He really is and not who we want Him to be.
Some are seasons that teach us how to truly love others in their own long, hard seasons . We learn a love that goes beyond ourselves. A love that is willing to walk with our neighbor when others have abandoned him/her. Love that loves others unconditionally, even when they can’t love themselves.
Agape Love is a love that reaches out a hand and leads them back to the light. A Love that restores hope. A Love that is stronger than our own. Love that only comes from the Lord’s heart.
1 corinthians 13:4-7 tells us that **Charity (agape love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.**
God’s love is the opposite of human love. God’s love is about others. It is about what they need, not what I (we) need. It is a love that gives, sacrifices, restores, forgives and forgets. A love that neither thinks nor does evil to others or to ourselves. It is patient, and kind, never envious or proud. It never does anything that we KNOW will hurt others. Agape love is humble and meek. It is a peacemaker. It is honest and transparent and its faith holds fast when trouble comes.
Seasons. Happy seasons and crying seasons. Victorious ones and broken ones. We walk through them all. The season itself is not the focus, but how we walk through them is the key.
**Faith, love, hope, these three. But the greatest of these is Love. **