As I stood on top of Mount Carmel overlooking the fertile valley below, I couldn’t help but think of Elijah where Israel had started serving Baal and God was upset. Elijah prayed and it didn’t rain for over three years. Looking at that valley, I tried to imagine what it must have looked like after not getting any rain for years. I’m sure it was dry and barren instead of lush and green. The people must have been hungry and desperate. There was no telling how long that dry season was going to last. Eventually, Elijah prayed and the rains returned. The valley became fertile once again as pictured above.
Have you ever gone through a dry spell or a season that seemed like it would never end? Maybe you’re going through it now. When you’re going through it, you get hungry and desperate for God to answer and rescue you. Quite honestly, it can be embarrassing to go through these times. You start to wonder what you did wrong, and eventually begin the blame game. The good news is that these seasons don’t last forever. They may leave permanent reminders in your life, but those reminders should also point to God’s faithfulness in changing your season and carrying you through it.
Song of Songs 2:11 says, “The season has changed, the bondage of your barren winter has ended, and the season of hiding is over and gone” (TPT). I hope that speaks to you the way it did to me. God is working things out for your good even in the barren times. He is calling you out of your hunkered down mentality into a place where you can walk freely. You may carry the scars and effects of this season with you for the rest of your life, but don’t let them carry a root of bitterness. Instead, let God use those dry seasons of your life to provide hope and healing to others who will go through them too. When you leave the bondage behind that comes from those seasons, you’re able to produce more fruit in your life than ever before.
Did you know that there are four seasons to farming? In the Spring, it’s the time of planting. The soil is tilled and seeds are placed at the right depth and spacing. In the Summer, it’s critical to make sure the crops are getting the right amount of water, fertilizer and sunlight. With the Fall comes the harvest. It’s about gathering in the produce at the peak of ripeness and then ripping out the old stalks so the ground can be infused with organic matter. Then, when the winter comes, the land has an opportunity to rest. You also spend this time repairing your tools and getting ready for the next Spring.
As I read that, I can’t help but think of the seasons of our life. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a time and a season for everything. That includes our lives. Some of us are in a season of planting and preparing for what’s coming. Some of us are in a season of working on growing what we’ve planted. Some of us are in a season of harvest where we are reaping the benefits of what we’ve done. Others are in a season of rest where things in your life have been ripped up and it’s time to make repairs so you can plant again. Have you ever considered what season you’re in and the responsibilities God has given you for that season?
Proverbs 10:4 says, “Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity!” (TPT) God has you in this season for a purpose. In every season you find yourself in, there are things you should be doing for that season as well as things to prepare for the next season. Ask God to give you wisdom to know the things you should be doing in your season. Every season comes and goes. You will not be in this season forever, so make the most of it. Don’t let the opportunity of what God is trying to do in your life during this season pass by.
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
Most of us are familiar with Ecclesiastes 3 either from hearing it read at church or from The Byrds 1965 song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” featuring its text. It says that there’s a time for everything in life. There’s time to tear down and time to build. There’s a time to laugh and a time to cry. A time to speak and a time to keep quiet. Solomon was essentially telling us that no matter what we are facing right now, we can expect change to come. The good times won’t last forever. That also means that neither will the bad times.
Solomon was very frank in the verses that follow the famous portion of this chapter. He says that it’s hard for us to know what God is up to. We can never see the full picture of what God is doing in our lives. That leaves us with a choice to make: we can be miserable in the circumstances we’ve been placed in or we can choose to be happy knowing that God is in control of our lives. Solomon chose the latter and we should be too.
He understood that there are things in life that are beyond our control. Life comes in waves. There are good times and bad times. I’m reminded of my visits to the beach. I like to wade out about waist deep where the waves are crashing and try to lean into them. Inevitably a big wave comes and knocks me off my feet. I go under, struggle for a bit and then remember to stand up. Then I go at it again. In life, we can choose to stand there and lean into the waves with our shoulders hoping we don’t get knocked down or we can ride the waves the way surfers do.
I’ve never been on a surf board, but my understanding is that the trick is having a good balance. I think that’s true in life too. We have to find that balance knowing that there will be times of joy and times of pain. To offset the difficult times in my life, I choose to look at the positive side of bad things. I know that God is working on my behalf even in tough times. I know that He is using them to shape me into the person He wants me to be. He uses them to push me to the places He wants me to go.
Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” I like the way the Amplified Version takes it a bit farther. It says, “All things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God.” There is a plan for your life. What you experience today is part of that plan. It may be a time of sorrow, but those times don’t last forever. Whatever you are facing, it fits into God’s plan for you. It will change soon enough. You can be upset about it or happy. You can try to fight the wave or ride it. Ultimately, it’s your choice.