“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.” –Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, KJV
Between the two extremities of a time to be born and a time die there is a lot of living, learning, loving, losing, being, and becoming. Life is made up of seasons, spiritual and emotional seasons as real and opposing as the budding springs and the bleak winters of nature. In the natural world the two preferred seasons – the “perfect” seasons – are spring and autumn. Both are bright with exciting color and expectancy. Absent are extremities. Everything is “just right.” But God broke into these “just right” seasons with the scorching heat of summer and the bone-chilling cold winds of winter. The extremities, the positives and the negatives, temper God’s creation.The soul has its seasons – the bleak and lonely times when the plows of affliction make long furrows (Psalm 129:3) – the scorching days of trial by fire (I Peter 4:12) – the refreshing times of new growth and discovery of new life – and the productive, happy days of “bringing in the sheaves.” The varying terrain of our emotional and spiritual geography – the ups and downs of life – pushes us through these progressive seasons of the soul.
Sensitivity to the seasons with an understanding of their ultimate objective will “dress” you emotionally and spiritually for the changing climate of your circumstances. There will be positive and negative times. It will rain on the just and on the unjust. There will be extremes – “through now for a season in heaviness – yet believing – ye rejoice – receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (I Peter 1:5-9).
By our toiling through extremities – weeping, laughing – mourning, dancing – gaining, losing – God exercises the sons of men. As steel tempered by extremes of temperature, we are tempered to endure.
Sensitivity and understanding will also enable you to speak a word to season travelers in “due season.” The right word at the right time – how good it is! (Proverbs 15:23) While dancing through one of your spring-times be sensitive to those who are chilled by the mourning winds of winter. Let the laughter of your bright days become a rainbow, not ridicule, to those caught in a rainstorm of weeping. The bountiful harvest of your “getting” season should became a comfort through sharing with those who are losing a crop. Changing seasons are common to us all. God gives seasons – and He has a purpose in each one of them.
We all prefer the “just right” seasons, but He is the Lord of the harvest. Let us be patient with each other as we go through our seasons, waiting for the fruit that comes in due season. Our tempering for endurance will be easier if we weep together, not wallop each other – if we rejoice with joy not jab with jealousy.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose…”