It’s been a while hasn’t it! Apologies. I help with the church garden and over the Spring months I found it increasingly difficult to do the blog as well as keeping up with looking after the seedlings in the greenhouse, potting on, planting and weeding. Then Summer came and the weeds grew like...well weeds! The garden needed watering everyday (which if you don’t know the size of Hillfields’ garden, takes about ¾ hour) plus hedges needed cutting, flowers needed dead-heading etc. etc. On top of that, I was zooming around the place visiting clients and taking services (I do weddings and funerals, and I was very, very busy this Summer with both).
So, now the rain is doing much of the gardening work for me, and all I have to tackle are the foxes digging up the bulbs, I have more time to get back to blog writing. The change of season has meant a change in focus for me and much like Solomon postulated in Ecclesiastes, there is a season for everything; ‘a time for every activity under Heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot..a time to break down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance...’(Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4). And those words give us space when we are in a difficult season to take a breath and know a new season will come and dancing will re-commence.
I was driving through the country lanes last week, the same lanes that I travel 3 or 4 times a week, and I suddenly noticed the leaves on some of the trees were turning yellow and red. I could have sworn the day before they were green, like the change happened overnight, and I was taken aback at how quickly Summer morphed into Autumn, almost like the last few moments of September opened the door for the new season to arrive.
And then I got to thinking that the seasons in our lives can be the same. One moment we are struggling and all seems dark and hopeless, and then, God suddenly brings us into something new and everything seems brighter. Think about Joseph (Genesis 37-50), who started his journey in a pit, found himself in prison but ended up as one of the most powerful men in Egypt, helping to alleviate the effects of a bitter famine. His brothers’ hatred was not the end.
Remember Job, stripped of everything he held dear, suffering with ill health, in pain and torment (his friends were no help!), and then God restored all that was lost, giving him more besides (Job 42: 10-17). His affliction was not the end.
Then there’s Moses who ran away from Egypt after killing a man: one day tending sheep in the desert, the next, called by God, through a burning bush, to rescue His people (Exodus 3). His crime was not the end.
You only need to read the Psalms to see how often David found himself in dire straits, crying out to God in desperation (e.g. Psalm 69). Yet in other Psalms, he is praising God for rescuing him out of those same situations (e.g. Psalm 30). His adversity was not the end.
Poor Peter gets a bad rap for denying Jesus after His arrest and he probably hadn’t felt so bad in his entire life (Luke 22: 54-62), but a few days later, Peter is restored when Jesus calls him to pastor His people (John 21 15-25). His mistake was not the end.
Of course, there are lots of references like this in the bible and God continues his redeeming work in us: rescuing us, restoring us and reviving us when we are in our darker seasons. ‘God works all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8: 28). These darker seasons are not wasted time. They help us to grow, they strengthen us and give us character (Romans 5: 3-5). They prepare us, provide us with testimony and strengthen our faith.
If you are going through a difficult season, be ready for God to change things for your good. It can happen in a moment. Keep in the Word, keep praying, keep with His people and His purpose will be revealed. Don’t lose hope, He’s making a way where there seems to be no way (Isaiah 43: 19)