Sunday, October 9, 2011

In Season

     “What’s the point?” Have you ever asked this question in relation to experiences you’ve been through, or circumstances that have come your way – especially those that have felt like detours, distractions and disruptions in your life?
     Here in the northwestern United States, summer weather seemed painfully slow in arriving this year. We ached for warm weather after the prolonged winter, many of us wondering why winter lingered so long. It was therefore a relief that the first two weeks of September remained warm, blessing us with gorgeous weather and spectacular sunsets. Now, however, there is no doubt that autumn has taken center stage, edging summer back into the wings. In spite of summer’s late arrival this year, I have heard many Seattle natives express their readiness to embrace the season’s autumnal change.
     Seasons in our lives change also. Sometimes those changes are as startling as a sudden heat wave or cold snap. At other times the shift is more subtle, and it takes time for us to realize that a transition has taken place. There may be times when a hard season seems unduly prolonged, leaving us wondering as to the purpose of it all. Or perhaps we find ourselves in a transition that seems abrupt and painful, leaving us feeling dislocated and lost, longing for the return of a season that has past. At other times it is only when we have moved out of a season that we wonder what it was even for.
     “What’s the point of it all?” we ask. Was it a detour? A mistake? A misdirect? Sometimes we discard it as a fragment in our lives that was perhaps, after all, irrelevant to the rest.
       Yet no matter how it may feel sometimes, just like the seasons of the natural world, one season in our lives is not severed or disconnected from or unrelated to, another. Each is connected to those that came before, and those yet to come. It is all part of a continuous whole – a whole that God has designed in the pattern of our lives, each part completely necessary. 
     Have you ever seen a large mosaic, like the mosaic walls and floors that were built during the time of the Roman Empire? If you had to walk up to a mosaic design, and press your nose against just one mosaic tile until it was the only one you could see, it would seem meaningless and pointless: a small, bland tile with no bearing on anything.
     But viewed in the context of the whole picture, each piece of mosaic is essential to the whole – if any small piece was missing, the picture would be incomplete. 
       In the same way, each season of our lives is absolutely necessary to the next one, and to the whole design of our lives. Sometimes our view of life is so consumed by one season, or by even just a part of it, that we are unable to see its place and purpose in the whole scope of our lives. Yet from the perspective of the One who is the Creator of the detailed, intricate, exquisite picture, not a single piece of it is wasted or superfluous.
     Each season bears a “fullness” of its own – even those that, like winter, seem to be full only of waiting. It is in the seasons of waiting that we learn complete dependence on God, rather than reliance on our personal competency.
     In South Africa there lies a semi-arid region called the Namaqualand. For much of the year, the region is dry, and vegetation sparse. Then, once a year, for a very short period, a small amount of rain falls – and the land blooms with a riot of color in every direction as far as the eye can see. In all those months of waiting under the soil, those shriveled little seeds, so rich with potential, could not squeeze out a single flower by their own efforts. They have to wait for the rain upon which they are so dependent. Their “job” during that time, is… to wait!
     It is the waiting that produces the fruitfulness of the season to come. The fullness of the next season is a consequence of the season before. Through our own seasons of waiting, we are positioned to give God full access to our lives: to His reign over our lives, and to the life-giving rain of His Spirit poured out in His season – for the purpose of great fruitfulness.

Isaiah 45:8
“You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.”

Ezekiel 34:26
“I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.”

1 comment:

  1. What kind of season are you in right now? Or are you experiencing a season of transition?