I’m so glad the seasons change. Naturally, I have my favorites (autumn!); everyone does. Each season has aspects I adore and things I’m not very fond of. I’m thankful that we’re not locked in to any one season. Difficult seasons will end. This thought gives me hope.
Sometimes a hard season yields to a glorious one, but at least, it gives way to something else. Perhaps something better than my dreams, something hiding out of view, just around the corner.
The oppressive mugginess of summer has just ended (yay!) and I’m starting to see some vibrant color break out in the trees. As much as I love the crisp air of autumn, the crunch of leaves underfoot, and the smell of pumpkin, I always miss sitting on the porch during a summer thunderstorm and those long hours of sunlight that feel like they’ll stretch on forever.
In a few months, autumn, in turn, will give way to winter. I love the peacefulness of a fresh snowfall, the coziness of being bundled up, warm and dry, in front of the fireplace, and the anticipation of Christmas. But I have a friend who says winter feels like death to her.
Whatever you think about winter, it doesn’t stay. It’s not always cold and dark. What feels like death to my friend is actually a long hibernation. The flower bulbs wait patiently in their underground caves, like the bears who awaken when the time is right, to herald spring’s rebirth with all their brilliant color.
This most terrible of years has felt like one long, hard season that just won’t let up. And yet, life has gone on. Spring was just beginning to burst forth when our collective world changed because of the global pandemic. After lockdown all spring, modified lockdown all summer, our third season has begun. And life still hasn’t returned to normal and may not for quite a while.
Don’t you wish you could just wake up from a bad dream and find out it’s January 1, 2020 and we get to have a do-over? But the isolation, sickness and death, injustices and riots, political turmoil, and jobs lost are not the whole story for 2020.
Friends have gotten married.
Babies have been born.
Good things have continued to happen.
Life has continued to happen.
The unchanging God has been present in the darkness, when life has felt like an unending winter. Even in 2020, God has been present. He’s not leaving us.
In Ecclesiastes 3, King Solomon tells us that there is a time for everything under heaven.
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear 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 throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
This year has been challenging for all of us. But in about three months, it will end. Maybe 2021 will be another hard one. I hope not. You may think I’m too optimistic, but I have to hope that the next year cannot possibly be this hard.
One thing I know, it will be different. A new season will begin. And difficult or not, God will be in it. The seasons change, but he does not.