Everything in life has its season. There is the joy, warmth, and loveliness of summer and the dark, cold death of winter. There is the chill of autumn and the promise of new life in the spring.
I think the changes in the seasons parallel much of what happens spiritually speaking in all of our lives. We go through ups and downs, highs and lows. We experience the deaths of winter, but are hopeful for the promise of a new life in the spring. It can seem like in those winter months that you forget what summer feels like and looks like (especially when you live in Minnesota). Those slow winter months drag on while summer seems to quickly pass us by.
So, I pose a question, what is the purpose of the different seasons? What are the lessons to be learned in each one?
Even Christian, in the story of John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, experienced much of this. He had the high, so to speak, of meeting Christ at the cross and the joy of salvation as he finally lost his burden, receiving a new life and peace through the blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7). However, he also had the low of walking through the valley of the shadow of death and was forced to face Apollyon and overcome his fear. He was even close to death at times and walked much of his journey alone, although he was never quite alone because God was always with him (Hebrews 13:5).
This Christian life is not easy. It is not the “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” Gospel that is nowhere to be found in the Word of God. No, the Word of God says something quite different. The Bible says that those who even desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). It says he who does not take up his cross and follow after Christ is not worthy of Christ (Matthew 10:38). The Bible tells us we will have trials, temptations, persecutions, and many sorrows, but we are also promised that through it all, Christ would never leave us nor forsake us and we have the blessed hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).
This Christian path is narrow, rocky and does not have many companions for you to share in the journey along the way. It’s a hard road to walk, and not many do. Straight and narrow and difficult is the way and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14). I remember singing a song in high school that went like this:
Jesus walked this Lonesome Valley
He had to walk it by Himself
Nobody else could walk it for Him
He had to walk it by Himself
He took up his cross by Himself. He hung on the cross alone. In fact, he even said “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46), and then He died. But had He not died, you and I would never have lived. Just look at the beautiful resurrection that was to follow. Death was wrought in Him, but life in us.
So, just remember, that in the winter months of your soul, there is always the promise of a new resurrection of life in the spring. Jesus said in John 12:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Hold on to that promise.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says,
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
Remember, to everything there is a season.