God Creates the Seasons in Nature and in Life
It’s a Friday morning as I write this and the smell of baked cinnamon apples wafts through the cool morning air as I roll out of bed. It’s our second oldest son’s breakfast morning and we enjoy different cobblers on Fridays. Having some change is good—a different cobbler each Friday morn keeps things interesting. Of course, we have our favorites during Autumn. Our cobbler tastes change a little as the seasons change. Both fall flavors and sights are testimonies of our Heavenly Father’s design—God creates the seasons.
I’ve been taking the past few weeks to reflect on life. Although not as vibrant as other Autumns, the colors are changing and adding a splash of interest to all that has been green over the spring and summer. The trees are adorning some of their most glorious attire. And, it’s giving me pause as I contemplate some life-changes we are facing.
Seasonal Colors at My Feet
Already there are colorful pallets of leaves at my feet as I walk outside.
With each step I take, I ponder: Isn’t it interesting that (most) deciduous trees release all that beauty and cover without hindrance?
As each leaf ever so delicately drifts and spirals downward on a breeze is the whisper: Let go.
All around are leaves on the earth—a quilt of yellows, oranges, reds, and a bit of deep purple here and there. They snuggle against the hard dark brown bed—preparing for the winter season which inevitably debuts. It really is a time of rest for the trees.
The colorful and sparkly things of life often times have to be let go of to remind us that:
God is in control.
He still governs.
As we let go, we are aware of how bare we are before Him. No leaves to hide anything.
It’s a time of letting go and resting in Him.
Embracing a Season of Rest
Many of us are aware of a time of pruning and shaping. And, this time of year it’s rather common for people to discuss change along with Autumn. But, we perhaps oftentimes overlook the importance of the smaller lessons.
While trees have their lovely and lofty green foliage, they are pouring a lot of energy into them.
The color of life.
Sustaining both when the leaves are mature.
Making the air more refreshing to breathe.
As the minute hand ticks, leaves gently glide to the soil, and the trees enter a time of rest.
It’s a reminder that God provides for growth, sustenance, and the ability to make a difference. And, it’s a reminder that trees need a time of repose. There is purpose behind these changes.
Seasons Have Purpose
In a way, we go through these kinds of changes, too.
Even when God ushers in change, we may be certain that it’s a part of His design just as Ecclesiastes 3:1 explains:
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible expounds on this verse, stating:
“I. A general proposition laid down: To every thing there is a season, v. 1. 1. Those things which seem most contrary the one to the other will, in the revolution of affairs, each take their turn and come into play. The day will give place to the night and the night again to the day. Is it summer? It will be winter. Is it winter? Stay a while, and it will be summer. Every purpose has its time. The clearest sky will be clouded, Post gaudia luctus—Joy succeeds sorrow; and the most clouded sky will clear up, Post nubila Phoebus—The sun will burst from behind the cloud.”
And it’s true. You and I both witness it. There’s a natural ebbing and flowing of seasons in life.
It happens to us all and none of us are immune to the bad times any more than we are any glimpses of good times. Like a pendulum, time swings from one extreme to the next—a constant rhythm to life set in motion.
Seasons of Change are Constant
Winter will soon be ushering in and we’ll be pulling on our sweaters and thicker coats. But these trees . . . they will be bare. Even if they could protest, would they?
Sometimes winter gives us the kind of reminder that Matthew Henry’s Commentary expresses in another portion on Ecclesiastes 3:1:
“That every change concerning us, with the time and season of it, is unalterably fixed and determined by a supreme power; and we must take things as they come, for it is not in our power to change what is appointed for us. And this comes in here as a reason why, when we are in prosperity, we should by easy, and yet not secure—not to be secure because we live in a world of changes and therefore have no reason to say, To-morrow shall be as this day (the lowest valleys join to the highest mountains), and yet to be easy, and, as he had advised (ch. 2:24), to enjoy the good of our labour, in a humble dependence upon God and his providence, neither lifted up with hopes, nor cast down with fears, but with evenness of mind expecting every event.”
When we go through a time of change and then frost, we are bare before the Lord—stripped of everything except for our complete dependence upon Him. Even when we acknowledge that we depend upon Him and that all good and perfect gifts come from Him (our work, home, comforts, etc.), He wants to bring us into a deeper trust.
Will you be faithful to Him in the next valley which you travel?
Like the trees, even if you could protest and it would do some ‘good’, would you?
Or, will we each accept that we have appointed times to travel valleys and trust Him to bring us to the next mountain? What will our internal thoughts be? How will they be expressed outwardly?
It’s a Matter of Time for All
If you are a tree towering over and see much of what you’ve known throughout your life—slowly becoming out of reach—you may experience feelings of loss. Perhaps your colorful blanket of leaves was dull in comparison to someone else’s vibrant regal display, but it was yours.
If you peer around at the trees in your circle, you will see they still have their leaves—dancing in the breezes and delighting in their regal colors. You may even fancy them to be laughing as they look down and see that yours have fallen or that they’ve forgotten you all together. But, their day is coming soon. They, too, will shed theirs as they drift downward in one fashion or another and lay upon the earth.
And, if you look around you right now—to your left and to your right—you will see that you are not the only tree slowly losing one leaf at a time. You may even contemplate if Christians are the losers in His Story.
But, we are not. Christ has overcome the world.
You are not alone.
You are not forgotten.
These things must happen in preparation for change that our Mighty Maker knows we each need. For God does indeed create the seasons in nature and in life.
Internal and External Changes
What many others may pay attention to is the surface level changes. It sometimes makes them want to turn a blind eye and cling to what they have all the more. That’s too bad because while external things fade away, Psalm 1:3-4 teaches us about the internal gains we have:
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That bringeth forth his fruit in his season; His leaf also shall not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”
So what about the leaves on display—drifting away? Yes, it’s hard to face these valleys. But, God has the external things covered and He meets our needs. He even goes above and beyond and gives us our wants. Sometimes it’s through others and sometimes it’s in ways we cannot explain. However, internally, as we immerse ourselves in God’s Word and put our hands to kingdom work anyway, we will bear fruit when God appoints it.
If you find that you’re in a season where you are going through a valley, you aren’t the only one. And, if you have the Lord, you aren’t alone.
He wants us to trust Him.