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'For Everything There Is A Season'

'For Everything There Is A Season'

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Read : Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11 (NLT), St Matthew 28: 20b (NLV) 

Over the coming months our soul spaces will be reflecting on various seasons, particularly in the light of the verse from Ecclesiastes that we just heard 'For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven'.  

We are all familiar with the rhythm of the changing seasons of the year - as Spring changes to Summer, to Autumn, to Winter, back to Spring and so on. Though, if you've lived in Edinburgh for any length of time, you could be forgiven for thinking there is only one season - and it's cold, grey and wet, with just an occasional dry sunny day ! 

But we do know each season is supposed to have its own a distinctive features. Spring with its frantic growth, abundant new life, and opulent, extravagant beauty, always seems full of hope for the future. While Summer, with its long days, heat, and fruitfulness, moves at a more leisurely pace, inviting us to relax, reflect and dream. Autumn with its mellow, shortening days, falling temperatures, and quiet dying, is a time of maturity, of slowing down, letting go, and perhaps of melancholy. And Winter, with its cold darkness, dormancy and silence, can be a season of stillness, of struggle, endings, scarcity, and longing.  

You probably have a favourite season and also a least favourite one. Each season has its own distinct positive and negative aspects - and what one person loves another may hate. If you love snow, then winter might be your favourite season, but if you don't, it's probably your least favourite one ! 

You probably have a favourite season and also a least favourite one. Each season has its own distinct positive and negative aspects - and what one person loves another may hate. If you love snow, then winter might be your favourite season, but if you don't, it's probably your least favourite one ! 

But it's not just the year that has seasons. Our lives as a whole, as well as many aspects of our lives, may be viewed as having seasons.  

Although our life-span doesn't cycle through seasons more than once, in the changing seasons of our lives, we can probably see parallels to the seasons of the year. We start with Spring birth, moving through Summer maturity, to mellow Autumn's letting go and retirement, and finally to the Winter of our lives.  

And in the same way that each season of the year has positive and negative aspects, in our lives - no season is entirely good or entirely bad, although it may be difficult to find positive aspects in some seasons. 

But where else within our lives might we see seasons ? 

It may be helpful to consider seasons in relation to specific areas of our lives - although they may move backwards as well as forwards. Perhaps we're in the spring-time of a new relationship ? Or an autumn-phase in a long-time relationship? Perhaps our faith life with God is experiencing a dark, silent, winter?  

The writer of Ecclesiastes is keen to tell us that there is a right season for everything. While sometimes it can be right to let go of a relationship, or to move to a new job, there are also times to try and move that autumn or winter relationship, back into a spring or summer phase. Times to ask God to help us move our new spring-time faith into a more mature summer phase. 

Although one of the key aspects of the seasons of the year, is that they are always moving forward, and never last, in our lives the opposite can feel true. A dark winter season in a relationship, in our health, or our faith, may seem to last forever, and little by little our hope of any change can slip away.  

So if we feel like that - what then? Sometimes it may be helpful to be reminded that there is a time, a season, for everything, that nothing lasts forever, perhaps to look back and remember how things used to be. But what if nothing helps and nothing changes ? What if that relationship continues to be a disaster ? Our health doesn't improve? We're still in the dead-end job we hate ? Still at the bottom of the miry pit in our faith life ? What then? 

Well let's take a moment to think about God's place in all of this. The writer to the Hebrews said, in a quote from Deuteronomy (Dt 31:6) "God [has] said, 'I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5 TLB), and in Matthew's Gospel, Jesus said to his disciples, 'I am with you always' - Jesus said it to his disciples, and he says it to us - 'I am with you always'. 

Because, whatever season we are in - good or bad - whether we feel stuck or are moving forward, whether nothing is happening or too much is happening, whether we are content or frustrated, we never have to face it alone. God is right there with us. Always. Whatever the season. Whatever we face - God is with us and will help us.  

God probably won't wave a magic wand and instantly make our lives perfect, but he will be right there with us, as our foundation, our rock, our anchor, our safe refuge, when all around us feels like miry clay, or shifting sand. Remember he said 'I am with you always'.  

God knows all about seasons - he invented them after all ! Jesus lived through some good and some very bad one.  

all seasons

For us there may be 'a season for everything', but Jesus cares about all our seasons. He is right there in all our seasons with us. He will 'never, never fail you or forsake you.' 

God will 'never, never fail you nor forsake you.' (MSG) We can cling on to that promise. Cling on to God. Even when we can't feel his presence. Even when we are only hanging on by our fingertips. Even when everything seems dark. Even when nothing seems to change or improve. God is there with you. Always with you. Nothing you can do will scare God off, make him go away, make him stop loving you.  

So whether we are in a wonderful season or a terrible one, none last forever, and good or bad we can't cling on to them. God is the only constant in our lives. As Jesus told his disciples, and as he tells us - He is with us always. With us whatever the season. In every season - and that doesn't change. Ever !  

Ruth Gillett, 2017


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