God is into process and God is into seasons. These ideas began with him, and he has woven them into the fabric of creation so seamlessly that we don’t even flinch when summer’s thread is pulled into autumn and the maples in our back yard flame up in one last gasp of glory. Then winter, and silence – the stark, damp gray that hangs over Kentucky for four months.
These seasons don’t just happen in nature, they happen in our lives as well. There are times of growth, and harvest, and rest, and silence. They come and go like ghosts. We’ve all been through a cycle or two, but somehow the pace and our own fixation on the moment blinds us to the reality that there are new seasons approaching, just as our current season is waning.
If you’re in the winter, and everything feels cold and there’s only the memory of harvest present, don’t loose hope, spring is coming! A time of delight, and consummation, and small harvest. Your current season is actually a chance to rest. God hasn’t left you, he’s giving you a chance to catch your breath, a moment to not have to ‘show’ anything, to be leafless, to need less, to trust.
And if your in full autumn harvest, laugh, and celebrate, and be thankful – but make no mistake a day is just around the corner when it will seem like all of this bounty is just a dream, a mirage out on the desert, drawing you out a little further, possibly to your demise. Your current season is a chance to share, and to put his goodness on display, and to dance, to demonstrate that delight is not merely a concept or ideal, but a very present reality. Harvest time is a chance to be nourished, and strengthened, and encouraged.
As sure and true as the seasons of God are, they don’t operate in the exact same manner that the seasons here in Kentucky do. Rarely do seasons of God overwhelm whole communities. Rarely do we all move through the times at the same pace or in the same moment. When the community of faith gathers, we are a patchwork assembly of all that God is doing.
Some of us are in winter, seemingly barren. Others of us are experiencing the warm embrace of spring. It’s all bird songs and pregnancy. While others still are facing the blazing sun of summer and everything is growing, good and bad. And for some, it’s harvest time. The baskets are full, the weeds didn’t win, and there is something amazing to show for all the effort.
The trouble is when you put all of that in one room.
It’s easy to compare. Questions arise. Pressure to conform is everywhere.
People who are in a winter season look at people in harvest and feel despair. People in harvest look at people in winter and think, “What’s wrong with you?” “For the love of God, cheer up!”
We all tend to personalize the world through our current circumstance, and in doing so attract and repel people based upon the season that we are living in. The trouble is that when we do so we are probably dissociating ourselves from a large percentage of the body that we are connected to. Life can become animated by either judgment or envy, depending on the season that we are living in.
Right now we should let go of all these kinds of comparisons, all this anxiety, and all such arrogance knowing that if we are faithful to God that he will move us all from season to season – that the soil of my life is not barren, but might simply be in winter – that the harvest will come to an end, and that end should be welcomed, other wise I may never get a chance to rest – that God is faithful, and will not leave anyone out.