(Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-9)
We are in a season of change, on the cusp between summer and fall. Just Wednesday I went to the US Open tennis tournament with my friend, Lisa. When I woke up in the morning, it was sunny and hot so I put on my white sundress, which was the perfect thing to wear all day long. But then, we decided to stay for the night session as well. And oh my goodness, I was freezing! The wind picked up; the temperature dropped twenty degrees. We went from August weather to October weather in just a few hours.
And I was not prepared. Not in my flip flops and white sundress.
The change between summer and fall is one of the most dramatic changes when it comes to our daily affairs because of the school calendar. In summer, we take off, and in September, we start back up again. Even the church calendar runs somewhat parallel to the school calendar.
This means that the way we spend our days is going to be changing. Kids go back to school. Teachers go back to work. Church events start up again. We’re all affected in some way.
Much like the calendar year has seasons, the spiritual life has seasons as well. In Ecclesiastes, we hear about all different sorts of seasons that we will go through, and each season is affirmed in its own right. There is a time when we will be born, and a time when we will die. A time when we are to plant seeds, and a time when we are to uproot dead flowers and vegetable plants.
Of this whole list, the two that really struck me when I was reading them were “a time to search and a time to give up” and “a time to keep and a time to throw away.” Have you every looked for something and looked for something, but you can’t find it so you give up the search? Then, like two weeks later, it just magically appears in front of your eyes. “There is a time to search and a time to give up.” And knowing what time is what is wisdom! Otherwise, we can drive ourselves crazy, bang our heads against the wall, walk in circles all because we are just out of sink with our timing.
Also, there is a time to keep and a time to throw away. Or in other words, a time to collect and a time to purge. I think many of us are good at colleting, but not so good at purging. Yet, you know how good it feels when at the right time, you clean out your stuff and start fresh.
In each of our lives right now, God’s Spirit is moving us from a time of something to a time of something else. What exactly for you, I cannot say, but that’s why I wanted us to take a little time this morning to slow down and be reflective. So that each of us can get a better sense of the rhythm that we are in.
Unlike me at the US Open, we don’t want to be totally unprepared for what is coming our way, and we don’t want to miss what God is doing in our lives. You will feel much more comfortable and at ease no matter what season you are in if you are able to go along with its rhythm.
So, I’m going to throw some possible seasons out there and listen if any catch your ear. If one word even rings true, ponder that. It might be the Spirit whispering to you, telling you something.
Is it a time to be silent or a time to speak?
Is it a time to get out there or a time to draw inward?
Is it a time to lead or a time to follow?
Is it a time to take control or a time to surrender?
Is it a time to be active or a time to rest?
Is it a time to give or a time to receive?
As you get in touch with your rhythm, honor it. Let yourself be where you’re at, and tell others where you are at so that they can honor you as well.
Psalm 46 is all about how God is in control. “God is our refuge and strength, an every-present help in trouble. Therefore,” it says, “we will not fear…” And then it goes into some rich imagery of the world changing and in chaos. “Though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
Though your life is changing, and it may feel in chaos, do not fear for God is in control of the seasons of your life. And remember, there is a time for every season that we go through. Where you are at is right for you according to God who has planned your days and who is guiding you through this blessed transition and into a more full, rich and deep existence.
From summer to fall
From weeping to laughing
From scattered to gathered.
God’s Spirit is moving in your life. Be still and know that God is in control. Be calm, open and patient as your season changes. Who knows exactly what God is doing, but know this, God is doing something beautiful in your life.