Faith is a journey. Strength comes from many failings. Patience is obtained through perseverance (James 1:3). Peace can be experienced even when hope is all there is left to hold on to (Philippians 4:7). All of these fruits take time to grow.
Throughout our walk of life, we journey through many different seasons. Sometimes, we meander into the deserts of a dry season with emptiness, or cross over the flooded rivers of stress and anxiety. We may stumble into the wilderness where we feel lost, or sail directly into the fiercest storm of trials and tribulation.
Oftentimes, it feels as if we pierce through the grassy plains atop the ridge line only to sink into the low valleys of depression. John Bunyan well illustrated the seasonal changes that takes place in a spiritual journey as Christian and Pliable were so excitedly heading towards a place where people are “…loving and holy; everyone walking in the sight of God and standing in His presence…” according to Christian, and almost immediately thereafter finding themselves slumped into the Swamp of Despondency.
The biggest mistake we can make is to think that these seasonal changes won’t come. Sometimes, we bring these seasons upon ourselves, and sometimes they come without any personal assistance. Nevertheless, they come all the same.
More times than not, these life circumstances and changes will inevitably change us for better or for worse. Unlike the seasons, we are accustomed to such as winter, spring, summer and fall; the seasonal changes that come our way in life are a bit more unpredictable. One cannot pin-point which season is coming next and then figure out how to adjust quickly or prevent the season from coming all-together.
The seasons and times in our lives are the variable. This means that they are subject to change, they will differ, and they will be unique in their own way for each individual. This also means the seasons, times and changes, and circumstances are often independent from us in their coming. However, they may often take the form of our actions, but not necessarily. The only portion of a seasonal change that can be controlled is the way that it changes us, because that is ultimately our choice.
At this point, we arrive to the greatest part of the equation, and that part is God. God is the only “constant” that we have. God does not change with time; He is outside of it. God is not moved by the season, but knows of it’s coming, and knows what we need to get through it (Matthew 6:8). But so often, we trust in our money, our athletic abilities, our looks, our intelligence, our friends, our significant other, our current situation; but all of this is subject to change … and it is very likely that it will.
There is nothing wrong with having the aforementioned items, but to put our trust and faith in what is subject to change and disappear will lead to such disappointment…and poverty. The truth is, God is the only one who is worthy of our complete trust. God is unwavering in His promises, unconditional with His love, and endless in His grace and mercy.
Jesus Christ died on the cross once and for all, for all who will believe. Not only that, but God gives us His word through the Bible. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…” and the next 8 verses list a variety of things that not only will there be a time for, but even a purpose under heaven. God is able to use every kind of season that the world can bring on us…and He can use it for His glory, which will be for our benefit if we only trust Him.
God gives us salvation by grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8), and gives us clear direction through His Word (Psalm 119:105) so that we may not remain lost and grow weary, but that we may soar on wings like an eagle with our strength renewed (Isaiah 40:31). Let us not trust in our current state, in the success that we have experienced, in the seasonal changes, or in anything so frail that could be broken or taken away; but let us trust in the Lord God who is absolutely unchanging. Let Him change and mold us in to His creation by trusting in Jesus, and following after Him who gives life abundantly.
Isaac Redman is a 22-year-old youth pastor at Pleasant Grove Church. He is a servant of Christ and loves music and the outdoors