When Seasons Change
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What the writer of Ecclesiastes is telling us is that there are different seasons in our lives. Some will come to us as a result of our choosing. Some will not be welcomed changes. However, even those that we pursue on purpose will cause us to have to make adjustments we could not have anticipated, adjustments that may be hard, adjustments that may come with sacrifice, but adjustments that are necessary and how we adjust may determine what happens next or may determine how long an unwanted season will last.
What if the only way we will move toward God or His purposes is if He ushers in or allows change into our lives? What if the only way we will appreciate the good times is to experience some difficult ones? What if the only way we will change and become like Jesus is to endure suffering as He did? What if we will only pursue spiritual growth is when change necessitates we cry out to God? What if our testimony to the world about who Jesus truly is, is only seen during moments when we have to deal with a new and tough season in our lives? What if in order to experience a promotion or an elevated status in life, we first have to suffer some disappointment or heartache?
Change comes whether we are happy about it, prepared for it, or welcoming of it. So, how can we plan to navigate change with courage, grace, and peace so that we can make the most out of each season and glorify while we are in them?
Maybe the first step in dealing well with the changing of seasons is to accept that change is something we can’t change. After we accept that change is simply part of life, what can we do?
1. In seasons of change, trust God with your future.Where you find yourself isn’t where you are always going to remain. If you are in an unwanted or pressure-filled season, it won’t last forever, and God will be at work in whatever season you are in to take you to a place of blessing. Don’t let your current difficulty define your future destination. Make a decision in the dark seasons or the cold seasons of life to talk to God about your future and to rest secure that He has a plan.
God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11-13 that He has a hope and a future for those who are seeking Him with their whole heart, so don’t allow a difficult season to inform your future. You’re just in a season. You aren’t in forever. You won’t be in forever until you get to heaven. If life is difficult for you financially, if you are sincerely seeking God on the subject, He will lead you out of this season and into a place where you can experience stability. Don’t assume the worst. What you are experiencing is a chapter in the story of your life. It isn’t the entire book. Don’t let a chapter become the entire book.
2. In seasons of change, walk by faith and not by sight.
Resist the urge to define whether life is good or bad only by what you are seeing and experiencing. There is another dimension beyond the physical and emotional. We have to stay focused on the spiritual aspect of our lives and on who God is and on what God can do. The worst thing you experience may turn out to be the vehicle through which you receive your life’s greatest blessing. God initiated great change into Abraham’s life when He called Abraham to a new place, and He didn’t even tell him where the place was. He just asked him to walk by faith. He just told him to start walking and to trust that God would tell him whenever he needed to turn to the left or to the right. If Abraham was going to obey God, everything about his life would change. He would leave everything familiar about his life except his family that would journey with him. He wouldn’t live as a settled person for a while. He would be traveling for a long time which meant constant change. Change wasn’t going to come without blessings, however. Listen, when God brings about a change in our life, it is because He is going to bring about a blessing that we can’t receive where we are.
If God is prompting change in your life, you have to believe that His way is best. That takes faith. You have to believe that He will take care of you during the time of transition. You may have to believe that He will provide for you or that it is worth it to take God up on His offer. None of those things will be accomplished without faith. The exercising of faith proves that we believe that God knows what He is doing. The Bible teaches that it pleases God when we exercise faith, and that without faith, it is impossible to please God. Don’t focus on what change will cost you, but focus on what God can do in your life when you follow Him in faith.
In seasons of change, cling to what is unchanging.
God’s love for you never changes. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. 4 I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful. 5 Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.
I love that word, “Again.” God was saying, “You have had good times. There have been happy days, and now times are tough. Because I am in an unchanging love relationship with you, I am committed to you. It isn’t always going to be like this. You will be strengthened. You will get through this season and you will rejoice and sing and dance again. You will be productive and there will be something to show for your life.” Rest in the unchanging love of God that has the power to build you up again and again and again. Look at verse 12 of Jeremiah 31:12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD— the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. 13 Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. 14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the LORD.
You won’t always sorrow. You won’t always mourn. There is coming a day when you will dance again!
When you are in the midst of a change that doesn’t feel good, that seems overwhelming and dark, press in to the love of God. Fall more in love with Him because He is the only thing that never changes. Everything about God is fixed. His love is unchanging. His Word is unchanging.
Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever.”
Isn’t that a beautiful picture of stability in the midst of change? The green grass is withering. The flowers that were so beautiful, that we worked so hard to plant and maintain, that brought us joy when we looked at them, are now falling over. We are coming to the end of a season. Things are changing, but one thing remains unchanging. When you need something to get you through a difficult time of change, cling to the Word of God. Read it. Listen to it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. It will make a positive difference.
The love of God and the Word of God have power to keep you safe in the midst of change. They will help you draw closer to God Himself. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
When seasons change, we have a choice. We can choose to accept that life is full of transitions and ask for grace to move through them or we can whine, complain and lament which won’t make life very fun. We can choose to give our future to God and believe that as we follow Him in faith, He will lead us to a better place. We can go deeper in His love, become more intentional about taking in His Word, and hold tighter to His hand.