Change of Seasons

According to a study of America's 300 largest cities, the little city in which I live, Springfield, Missouri, has the most erratic weather in the country. The weather conditions fluctuate wildly, bringing a tornado in November, 70-degree days in January, or a blizzard in April. Such sudden shifts confuse plants and wildlife and leave us bewildered humans wondering what weird weather will be next.

But even in Springfield, nature eventually settles down and, like a temperamental star, spring finally takes the stage, delighting everyone with her dazzling performance. Though winter may seem endless, it eventually must end, for God ordained the seasons when He designed our unique planet.

Our lives, too, have seasons. The dictionary defines a season as 'a time characterized by a particular circumstance or feature.” We all experience seasons of joy and excitement, times of success and fulfillment, days of discovery and new beginnings. But we also endure midnights of sorrow, hours of pain, and times of confusion.

A change of season may be subtle or dramatic. The Old Testament Book of Job tells the story of a good man who faced a sudden season of loss. All 10 of his children were killed, his livelihood was destroyed, and painful boils covered his entire body. All this happened in just one day! Job's friends offered him no comfort and even his wife gave up hope.

Job expressed understandable dismay: 'My heart is troubled and restless. Waves of affliction have come upon me” (Job 30:27, The Living Bible). 'My bones are pierced with aching in the night season, and the pains that gnaw me take no rest” (Job 30:17, The Amplified Bible).

But Job persevered until he had a special encounter with God. The Bible says Job's health was finally restored, his friends and neighbors brought him gifts, he became prosperous, and he and his wife had 10 more children. Of course, all this did not happen immediately. We know it must have taken several years for his wife to bear 10 children.

The psalmist David also experienced seasons of great adversity, but he found hope amidst the pain: 'Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Another translation of this verse reads: 'Sorrow is but the guest of a night, and joy comes in the morning” (Knox). Through his suffering David discovered a stronger faith and a deeper relationship with God. 'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4).

We all eventually face a season of difficulties and troublesome challenges, a time when we struggle with questions that seem to have no answers.

We long for God to intervene and dramatically change our situation. Sometimes our Father does provide an immediate solution; He sweeps away our problems, stops the source of our frustration and lifts us onto a magnificent mountaintop. However, more often the changes are gradual. When we accept God's gracious love, the healing process begins. But each day we must remind ourselves that He's walking with us through our trials, for nothing can ever separate us from His love. Though we may not always feel His presence, He faithfully guides and strengthens us every step of the way.

The apostle Paul said, 'The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). As we walk through the fire of adversity, we develop an increasingly intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. We learn to know and trust Him on a deeper level.

If you're going through a seemingly endless winter of disappointment, hang in there. When we walk with God, we know that springtime's on the way!

© by Nancy A. Stevens.