Saturday, July 26, 2008

Living in the Seasons

"Fruit has everything to do with seasons and you have to endure the season for fruit to come out." Darin Hufford

When I heard those words, I immediately started thinking about the four different seasons of the year - summer, fall, winter and spring. Right now, in South Carolina, we're experiencing summer. Summer in the Southeast means HOT with thunderstorms and possible hurricanes and tornadoes. Droughts are a part of this season and insects are everywhere.

Next, comes fall. Fall in the Southeast is a wonderful time of year as the days get cooler. The leaves start to change color, die and fall off the trees. I love the sound of the leaves crunching under my feet as I walk in my yard. How beautiful the yard looks covered by a blanket of different colored leaves.

Next, comes winter. Winter is a time of cold temperatures. Even though we don't normally have snow in the Southeast, we tend to stay indoors rather than face the cold. Trees look barren and all we see are naked branches that have been stripped of their leaves. It's a quiet time as most backyard birds and animals stay hidden seeking warmth and only come out occasionally in order to eat.

Spring is a busy time as everything seems to wake up. Trees take on a new beauty as leaves begin to sprout on what was once naked branches. Color is everywhere as flowers start to bloom and grow. Animals that were hidden during winter now are everywhere moving about. The song of birds can be heard throughout the day.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says " To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." The seasons are necessary. The barrenness of winter is necessary to prepare the earth for the activity of spring. The harshness of summer is needed in order to produce fruit. Fall is really a transition time that moves us gently from the harshness of summer to the rest of winter.

As each season is necessary for life to flourish so it is in our lives as believers. We love the spring in our lives when it seems like Father is doing great things and we're actively involved in ministry. However, we despise the winters of rest when it seems like nothing is happening and we're plagued with feelings of loneliness and wondering if God has forgotten us or, worse still, if we've offended him in some way and he's turned his back on us in anger.

As believers, we'll go through a varying cycle of seasons. Some pleasant and exciting and others very painful. For the most part, however, we have no control over what season we're in. We can't change the season. All we can do is stay on the path until the season is over.

We have a tendency, however, to try to run from the season when it gets hard. When feelings of loneliness overwhelm us, we call everyone we know and try to find ways to keep busy rather than face the loneliness. The reality is that when we run from the season, we don't really stop it. We may cover up the emotions but somewhere down the road, we'll go through that season again. When we refuse to allow Jesus to lead us through the season, we never learn the lessons from that season.

However, when we've endured the season and it's finished, we need to take the lessons from that season into the next season. For example, as I've shared before, I spent three and a half years in an abusive church. It was a very painful time in my life and, even after I left, the pain remained for some time. I believe one of the keys to my healing was the fact that I accepted that season in my life with all of its pain. It was not something I consciously set out to do but, as I followed Jesus, he led me on a path through the pain and I took the lessons learned during that season into the next season.

We all want to see godly fruit produced in our lives yet, in order to produce the type of fruit that is eternal, we have to endure the season. Seasons of loneliness and lack will come to prepare us for the exciting seasons of much fruit and activity. Jesus described these seasons of fruitfulness in John 15:4-5 when he said, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."


Joel B. said...

Ahhhh yes! Great stuff! :) I'm a big fan of "seasons" talk, and growth that's not based upon striving hard to make it all happen right here and now but based upon a process that involves seasons.

I think it's true that when we try to get out of some of the harder seasons, we miss out on a big part of the process. Of course none of us like those times, and sometimes we whine and moan and cry during those times, but God is faithful to bring us through each and every part.

I think as we go through various seasons and stages, and as we go through some of the harder times, we can look back and remember that we got through it before, and we'll get through it again. Over time I think it becomes easier to understand that it's all part of a bigger process. We need to remind each other of all of this often.

Deb said...

Hi Aida :-)

This is very good! I loved the part where you said, "For the most part, however, we have no control over what season we're in. We can't change the season. All we can do is stay on the path until the season is over." That is a very good reminder for all of us.

I have noticed that if I try to leave or ignore the 'season' I am in, that it usually turns out to be a mistake! I believe that it is important for us to go through ALL the seasons of our lives as He brings them to us. That is how I realize that I am growing :-).

Another thing that I can look back on my life and "see" is that if we succeed at circumventing a particular season for whatever reason, Father WILL bring it back around again!!! :-) Do you ever notice that?


Bino M. said...

Aida, A great reminder! Thank you!

Aida said...

Joel, I'm like you. I love talking about seasons. I think they present a really clear picture of our lives as believers.

I can relate to what you said. I have whined and moaned and cried my way through many seasons but it was helpful to remember that I survived the previous difficult season and through it learned more about the faithfulness of God.

Aida said...

Thanks Deb. You've shared some really good points. There have been many seasons that I would have preferred to bypass but because I went through them, I grew.

I believe we can never totally bypass a season. If we avoid it, it'll come around again. I've even heard it said that it's harder the second time. Ouch! Better to go through the first time.

Now that I'm more aware of the fact that Father is walking with me through the season, somehow it doesn't seem as scary.

Aida said...

Thanks, Bino.

Melanie said...

Hi Aida! Looks like we're both thinking "seasonally" these days. It's a beautiful theme to ponder, and so applicable in our spiritual growth.

I can relate in so many ways. Often I would rather skip the "winter" type seasons, and move right on to the sunny, pleasant, fruitful ones. But they all have a place and a purpose.

Thanks Aida!

Nicole said...

Aida, yes, I totally love this post...

I love each season because they have several different things to offer and the beauty in each season's are different... When we were thinking about moving to Hawaii, Jonathan and I both thought we would miss the four seasons because they basically have one season all year long...

In Freedom, Nicole!

Aida said...

Melanie, we sure are thinking together on this. LOL I love the teaching about seasons. It has really helped me to understand why things happen and that I need to just stay focused until the season is over and the new one has begun. Thanks for your comments.

Nicki, I love the seasons too. As you said, each one does have its own beauty. I guess there wouldn't have been much variety in Hawaii. Definitely no winter like you experience in Colorado.