For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. ~ Ecc. 3:1
I don’t think truer words were ever spoken. That’s what life is all about . . . seasons. There’s of course our calendar seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, which mark the passage of time and the natural order of nature. But beyond that there are seasons which mark life itself. There is childhood, youth, adulthood, middle-age, and oft-dreaded old-age (though I personally think each age and stage offers its own pros and cons and should be celebrated regardless).
While it’s true that the calendar seasons are measured equally in length, that cannot be said of the seasons of life. There are times when a season we are particularly enjoying would last longer, and there are times we are experiencing a season that unbearably painful that seems to never end. But eventually it does, because that’s the way seasons work.
It’s possible to be stuck in a season, but that’s only because while the season changed and moved on, the person didn’t. Have you ever seen or known a middle-aged prom queen, still trying to live in her former glory, wearing clothes that are not appropriate and engaging in behaviors that are definitely not appropriate (or a similar scenario)? Eeewwww… That’s a picture of an unhappy person! How could she possibly be happy living in the past, rather than embracing and functioning in the present (whatever that may look like) and hoping toward the future. It’s impossible to get in your car, and drive to a far away location by only looking in the rear-view mirror. The same can be said for life.
Some seasons we wish we didn’t have to go through. Seasons like that of a debilitating illness, death or divorce. Or perhaps the loss of a job, a home, or a treasured relationship. The betrayal of trust, innocence or childhood. None of these are seasons that any of us want to go through, but they happen regardless. We cannot choose our seasons; what they may be, when they may happen, or even how long they last, but we can choose how we handle them. It’s up to us whether we merely experience them or actually allow them to define us. It’s been said that we can be a victim or a victor, not both… I agree with that.
As unpleasant as they may be, it’s the tough seasons of life that strengthen us and enable us to grow and become more mature. Through the process we develop wisdom, which we can then use, and share, in future situations or experiences. Of course that’s up to us . . . some people never seem grow in wisdom, but then again, they’re often not teachable in other areas of life either! The thing we are able to take comfort in though, is if we belong to Jesus, we have a promise that none of our experiences will be wasted, rather, that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes (Rom. 8:28).
The really good news though, is life’s not all about the tough seasons! We experience seasons of happiness, new beginnings, light-heartedness and, blessedly, smooth sailing! There are seasons in our life when all is well, we are pleased with the way things are going and we are a source of encouragement for others. Sometimes we experience seasons when we’re amazed and grateful at how happy, lucky, blessed, fortunate, favored, fulfilled, prosperous, or successful we are. There are even times when we are so filled with joy and elation we could shout from the rafters, “The sky is blue and the birds are singing!” or even, “The hills are alive with the sounds of music!” (I don’t recommend it though!)
Yes, there is a time for everything, for every activity, under heaven. There is a time for the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the simple and the difficult, for strength and weakness, for prosperity and lack, for recreation and for work. It has always been that way, and it will always be that way. The Bible assures us that, While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Gen 8:22). As long as the earth remains there will be seasons, and they will change. A common and comforting mantra for many during the difficult seasons of life is this too shall pass. And it always does.