Here in Texas, our seasons are always all mixed together. Once we’ve had snow sometime in March, while sometimes we’ve had Christmas where everyone shows up to dinner in shorts and t-shirts. But even when they are mixed up, each season has a unique beauty to it. In the fall, the leaves begin to change into beautiful, unique different colors and also start “falling” (lol) off trees as winter approaches. Even so, during the wintertime when the trees are bare, the weather is bitter cold, and the ice lays on the street, there’s still a certain “new beginning” feel to it. During the springtime when everyone’s allergies begin to act up, the lovely flowers begin to blossom. During summertime, even though it’s scorching outside and the pavement feels like a hot stove, kids are out playing and everyone’s out for summer vacation. You can see, even though these seasons are all different and each has its own difficulties, there’s beauty to be found in each one- that’s exactly what the seasons in our life are like.

No other place in scripture highlights this better than Ecclesiastes 3:1- “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” This verse and the rest of that chapter remind us of how God has everything in our lives planned out intentionally and strategically, so that we constantly have opportunities to bring Him glory in all things…but is that what we do? 

Purpose and Preparation.

One of those super cheesy lines that we as Christians say, myself included, is “there’s a reason for everything.” Even though those few words seem so simple and sometimes even cliche, it speaks incredible amounts of truth. The Lord allows us to experience difficult times not because He doesn’t care for us, but because He loves us and there is a purpose in each season. If you step back and think about it, it’s in those times of hardship and difficulty that we become the most intimate with Him. It’s in those times we seek Him the most. And it’s in those times we grow the most.While difficult seasons can be painful, the seasons of peace and fruit can be just as joyful! But contrary to the line you just read, we’re also called to be joyful in every season.  Paul even tells us in Romans 8:28-“…we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” But Paul is not saying that the life of followers of Christ is going to be pain free and “joyful” according to the earthly views, but that God will use every season that we experience to mold us to be more like His Son, Jesus.

Through each of the seasons, He is also preparing us for what He has next in store for us. It’s hard to think about it this way when we experience loss of a loved one, seasons of loneliness, and other hardships. Even in the trials, our God always manages to teach us and prepare us for the following seasons of our lives. When we look at it this way, it becomes much easier for us to see things as He does, rather than having tunnel vision and only seeing the seasons in our life from a worldly perspective. 

Trust Him No Matter the Season.

According to the Webster dictionary, trust is the “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc…” But to fully comprehend trust, we have to understand the nature and character of God. To this day, our God has constantly kept every one of His promises, whether it is to Noah, to Abraham, the Israelites, or to us. You could say that that He has built up credibility which He continues to sustain as each day passes! Then why is it still difficult for us to fully trust Him? We tend to trust the Lord with our eyes closed when things seem to go according to our plans (or what we like to think), but the second it feels like things are not in our reach or our control, we start to question His goodness and wonder why He’s not swooping in like a super hero. It’s in moments like these that we truly realize whether or not we trust God wholeheartedly. 

One of my favorite songs and a song that instantaneously makes everyone smile as soon as the first chords are played is Oceans by Hillsong. Everyone that knows this song tends to sing on the top of their lungs as the worship team leads, but do we really know what we are agreeing to as we sing those lyrics? The bridge to Oceans is “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, where ever you would call me…” Do you see what those words mean? We’re asking God to lead us into the unknown, in which our trust cannot have any limits, no matter the circumstances. We sing that boldly and loudly in worship, but is that what we’re living out? Is that how we respond in those seasons of pain, hardship, and when facing the unknown? It should be how we respond. But sometimes we’re quick to sing out and proclaim to the world how much we trust Him, whether it be through our words, our Instagram bio, or our Facebook statuses. But what really matters is how we respond when our trust is tested. Our trust shouldn’t ever waiver because isn’t based on our situations, but on our faith, our faith shouldn’t waiver because it’s based on the promises and hope found in Jesus which is “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade- [that’s] kept in heaven for [us]” (1 Peter 1:4). But even when it does, we have a God that is gracious and still wants us to come to Him. That’s what’s so special about the different seasons! He uses each one of them for us to grow and become more intimate with Him.

Living in the Present With Eyes Fixed on Him.

For the past few months, I’ve had to constantly remind myself to live in the present. Since the end of December I’ve been waiting on a response from a missions opportunity for this summer and let me tell you…the Lord has not only been teaching me more about patience, but also about the beauty in living in the present and the importance of keeping my eyes fixed on Him. When we intentionally choose not to worry or think about what the Lord may or may not have in store for us in the upcoming seasons of our life, there’s this sense of peace that overtakes us. It almost feels as if we’re living out one of Bethel’s well known songs It Is Well. The chorus of that song- “through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you…through it all, it is well” reminds us of the peace that comes with having our eyes fixed on the Lord no matter what this world may throw at us, and the bridge- “so let go my soul and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His name” gives us a reminder of how we’re called to live out a life style of surrender in order to fully trust in Him.

Of course this is difficult for us because we’re human- we like to dwell on the past and worry about the future, but God wants us to find joy and peace in the present. Since we cannot do this on our own we have to turn to Him because He is our strength. When we get away from the craziness of this world and spend time in solitude with Him, we get to experience what it feels like to live in the present with our eyes fixed on Him by “be[ing] still, and know[ing] [He is] God” (Psalm 46:10). When we spend time everyday being still and taking in the beauty of the season we’re in, we attain a greater willingness to live in the present because we’re constantly fixing our eyes on Him.

Worship Constantly.

Kim Walker is a singer you’re probably familiar with if you grew up around the church, and not only does she sing, she also speaks. During one of her talks describing worship, a line that she used that I still remind myself about is “worship is not music, worship is not songs…worship is simply our connection to Him” A lot of times we think of worship as just music, lyrics, or songs, but those are just expressions of worship and not worship itself. Different scholars and different definitions explain worship in various ways, but at the end of it all, worship is a lifestyle. We as Christians are called to live our lives and worship God in every season of our life. It’s easy for us to worship Him on Sunday mornings when the rest of our church is singing alongside us, but are we talking to Him and praising Him daily during the week, for all that He’s doing in our life? Are we spending time with Him and putting work into our relationship with Him? Just like any other relationship you have- a romantic relationship, friendship, family, co-workers, family etc…you have to put in effort to maintain that relationship and for it to be intimate. Similar to that is our relationship with the Lord. We should yearn to be intimate with Him, but how do we plan to get there without spending time with Him constantly?

This is all easy for us to agree with and easy for me to write about, but the challenging aspect is putting it into practice. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). No matter what season we’re in, we are called to live a life that is led by the Holy Spirit fixated on the Gospel Truth in which we are willing to follow.

For those who don’t know, I found out earlier this week that I will be joining the Lord on mission this summer to Calcutta, India for six weeks. Let’s just keep this between you and me, but I’m scared. You would think the past three months felt like the longest three months of my life waiting to see if I would be able to join the mission team going to Calcutta. But through this time the Lord has taught me to trust Him at a deeper level, to live in the present, to have my eyes fixed on Him, and to worship Him constantly. These lessons that He taught me allowed me to focus more on what was going on in my life at that time, rather than dwelling on whether I would be going on this trip or not. During the past three months, God has taught me the power of prayer and how the time I spent in solitude with Him was all to prepare me for this trip. Even though I couldn’t see it at the very beginning (and trust me, I was getting a little impatient), there was a reason why the Lord had me wait before I could know His plan for me for this summer.

The point of me sharing that part of my testimony is because I want to remind each of us that a lot of times we won’t see what God is doing in our life when it is happening. But when we look back at it, that’s when we get it. Since God’s understanding and planning is too great for us to understand, it takes more time for us to even see the bigger picture. That’s especially true for the difficult seasons. One of my close friends always reminds me that the hardest seasons are the best seasons (thanks Lyds!).

So whether you’re currently in a difficult season, a season that feels stagnant, one in which everything is going as you hoped it would, or a season that has you constantly on your knees in tears… know that we have a Hope that doesn’t change like the seasons in our life. Take delight in the confidence that we have a God that is the King of the Heavens, King of the earth, and King of our heart. “He’s the mountain we run to, the shadow where we hide, and the ransom for our life. He’s good, and He’s never going to let us down.”

King of My Heart- Paul and Hannah McClure: Bethel Church

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