“For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
It’s fall back day today. The day our clocks turn back an hour to adjust for the coming days when daylight gets shorter and the night gets longer. It’s also the time of the year when leaves that have changed colors fall to the ground. Everyone tries to enjoy and soak in the beauty of autumn’s peak foliage days when the trees are at their grandest. I personally have two reasons for frantically taking pictures of fall foliage. One, the trees are truly picture-worthy to the point that I feel like I’m living in a postcard. And two, I know the colors won’t last long. The fleeting nature of this beauty brings an urgency to enjoy it while it lasts.
Life is full of changing seasons. Our Creator and Father designed our journey that way and he has the best and wisest reasons behind it; some of which we understand and some of which we don’t. Each period comes with its own joys and sorrows. Some seasons are truly harder than others, we can’t wait for them to end. But then there are those that bring us so much delight that we don’t want them to end, and we question why they must.
In the book The Afternoon of Life, Elyse Fitzpatrick explains: “Why has the Lord so arranged the universe, from smallest molecule to the full course of our lives, so that we’re constantly faced with change? Because he wants us to observe and to learn. To learn that we are finite, dependent, weak, in need of daily sustaining. And to learn that he’s unlike us.” Psalm 102: 25-26 “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish but you will remain.”
I find it beautifully paradoxical that the God who never changes, filled our lives with change. That life is not stagnant but is in fact in constant motion brings an urgency to make the most of our days. This does not mean we focus on checking things off a bucket list or living the best life now. The brevity of life should prompt us to pray like the psalmist asking for wisdom. “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12. The physical changes that come with chronological aging, while feared by many, should not discourage the believer whose sole security is the unending faithfulness of God from generation to generation. Mary, the mother of Jesus proclaimed “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.” Luke 1:50.
If we are in Christ, we can have the assurance that each season is an opportunity for God to lavish his grace upon us and knit our hearts to his, to make us more like Jesus and accomplish his will. The truth is, above and beyond the changes that are happening in our lives, there is an even greater work that God is doing for his greater glory. Our response is to love and delight in our God throughout the journey. His grace is sufficient to run the race that is set before us fall, winter, spring and summer. We can serve him regardless of the season. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
I know I cannot keep the leaves on the branches when God says it’s time for them to fall. Similarly, I can not hold back the buds when it’s time for the flowers to bloom again. It does not help to hold on to a season when he tells us to move on. Neither should we jump ahead before he leads us to the next one. Instead, we dance to his music for his rhythm is perfect. It’s never a beat ahead or behind. He does make all things beautiful in his time.
“If we hold tightly to anything given to us unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used we stunt the growth of the soul. What God gives us is not necessarily “ours” but only ours to offer back to him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of… Many deaths must go into reaching our maturity in Christ, many letting goes.” Elisabeth Elliot