The Sea­sons of Life

A time for every­thing

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - By Mara Hodler Mara Hodler is a for­mer mis­sion­ary to the Far East and East Africa. She cur­rently lives in Texas with her hus­band and chil­dren and runs a small fam­ily busi­ness.

“There is a time for every­thing, and a sea­son for ev­ery ac­tiv­ity un­der the heav­ens.”1

This is a big life les­son. It is re­ally good news … and not such great news at the same time. Re­gard­less of how you may feel at the mo­ment, what sea­son of life you are cur­rently liv­ing through, you can prob­a­bly ex­pect a change at some point, be­cause, as we know, sea­sons come and go.

When King Solomon wrote the pre­ced­ing scrip­ture, he gave a lot of ex­am­ples of the sea­sons and ways our lives can change:

A time to be born and a time to die

A time to plant and a time to up­root

A time to kill and a time to heal

A time to tear down and a time to build

A time to weep and a time to laugh

A time to mourn and a time to dance

A time to scat­ter stones and a time to gather them

A time to em­brace and a time to re­frain from em­brac­ing A time to search and a time to give up A time to keep and a time to throw away A time to tear and a time to mend A time to be si­lent and a time to speak A time to love and a time to hate A time for war and a time for peace.2

One of the most beau­ti­ful prom­ises in the Bi­ble is given in the same chap­ter: “He has made every­thing beau­ti­ful in its time. He has also set eter­nity in the hu­man heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from be­gin­ning to end.”3

I like the part that says “no one can fathom.” When I was a teenager, I had so many plans and ideas of what I wanted my life to look like. Most of the ideas I had were good, or at least okay. I wasn't (only) dream­ing of be­ing a celebrity or mil­lion­aire. I also wanted to be able to rush to any­where in the world that needed help. I wanted to help or­phans and wipe out poverty. If and when I had kids, I wanted to raise them in an African vil­lage where we all worked to­gether to help a com­mu­nity thrive. That's what I wanted. It re­ally sounded like a good dream; it still does some­times.

But God had a plan for me that I did not fathom.

I'm still watch­ing that plan de­velop, but I've learned enough to know that God's de­sign is so much more far-reach­ing than any­thing I could fathom. I've learned that God is present in both times of sow­ing and times of reap­ing. And some­thing else I've come to re­al­ize is that both sea­sons are re­peat­ing.

A farmer plants his crops ev­ery spring and har­vests them ev­ery fall. Each year. He doesn't get up­set that he's plant­ing again an­other year. He doesn't scream out in frus­tra­tion, I just did this last year! Why again? In the fall when it's time to gather in the crops, he doesn't tell him­self, Yay! I’ll never have to do that again! The farmer knows the cy­cle will re­peat ev­ery year, and he's okay with that.

In that way, we should all make peace with the sea­sons in our lives. There is a time to laugh, and a time to cry, a time to sow, and a time to reap, a time to give, and a time to re­ceive. It's all gonna hap­pen.

In Texas, where I live, the weather is crazy. One day you're in shorts. The next day you're pulling out your win­ter gear be­cause there's a cold front com­ing through. On the blis­ter­ing hot days, of which to­day is one, it's hard to re­mem­ber that it also gets cold around here—even freez­ing cold.

It's the same with the sea­sons of life. When the sad times come, it's hard to re­mem­ber that there's also a lot of hap­pi­ness. When things dis­ap­point, it's easy to for­get about all the things that have worked out smoothly.

To God, one sea­son isn't more pre­cious than an­other. He can use each sea­son in our lives to bring about His de­sign. Some­times I think that God is smil­ing on me when things are go­ing great, and that a trial or mis­for­tune means I have fallen out of His fa­vor. But ex­pe­ri­ence has taught me that this is not so. A great artist will use lovely, bright col­ors—reds, yel­lows, pur­ples, and blues—to con­vey in­spi­ra­tion, but not with­out the con­trasts of black, the muted grays, and the blurred whites.

We need to trust the Artist. His work speaks for it­self, and time and again, He has proven that He does in­deed make every­thing beau­ti­ful in His time. Each of our lives is no ex­cep­tion to the high and low sea­sons. And nei­ther is it an ex­cep­tion to the prom­ise that it will be beau­ti­ful in His time.

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