“To everything turn, turn turn, there is a season turn, turn turn. And a time to every purpose, under Heaven.” In December of 1965, The Byrds released this song. Pete Seeger was inspired to write these lyrics from the passage out of the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) in the Bible. This beautiful poem was believed to have been written by the wise King Solomon. Some of you were even singing along to the tune in your head as you read the lyrics, am I right? But behind the catchy music and apart from the poetic lyrics, what does this reveal about God’s heart for us? I am sure you can recall the vast range of seasons of life you have walked through…some with great joy and some with great sorrow. Sometimes we long to speed up the arrival of a new season, whether we are desperately need of a fresh start, full of excitement for what is to come or simply longing for a change. While sometimes we grieve the passing of a previous season, trying to hang on to it a little bit longer, grasping for just one more day.
I myself just recently walked through one of those seasons, a season of grieving, a season of longing, trying with all my strength just to hold on. I knew I was in a place where seasons were changing, but I felt trapped somewhere in the middle. For I realized that my current season was coming to a hard end, yet I couldn’t see or feel the promise or fresh beginning of the next one that would follow. As I sat in my cozy living room one fall day, I glanced outside and saw snow begin to fall. It was the first snow fall of the year. While snowfall to me is always beautiful, especially when I am indoors, I noticed something peculiar that caught my attention. Among the fluffy flakes of falling snow, stood our large maple tree covered in beautiful vibrant colored leaves, some even still green. It is not everyday, especially in the Midwest that you see remnants of summer merging with the first signs of winter. Soon after that first snow, I noticed all the leaves began to turn and fall rapidly. And over the next few days, I saw the tree limbs go from incredibly full to completely bare. It was through this picture that I felt God begin to speak to my heart about the transitioning through seasons. I watched in awe to how the unexpected chill and snow became a catalyst for change in that maple tree. Once the cold weather came in, it spurred the tree on to help prepare it for the changes that were coming. You see maple trees are deciduous, they shed their leaves every fall to prepare it for winter. They do this to conserve water and nutrients in the winter months to help sustain it and ensure its livelihood. I often wonder if not for that snow fall , how long would that mighty maple tree have hung onto it leaves, would it have even survived the coming months?
I felt for that maple tree, because I was that maple tree, stuck in the transitioning of seasons. But what I soon realized was that the snow (trial) that had fallen in my own personal life was ultimately for my good. It caused me to shed the old, to release the things that would eventually rob me of my own nutrients and take from the fullness of my own life. The snow was not sent to destroy me, it was sent to help prepare me...to force me to let go of the old, so that I may grab hold of God’s new. Yes, I felt the pain and all of its bitter sting, but in God’s kindness, He gives it all a purpose. Sometimes God uses unexpected events to help move us in a new direction. Seasons come and seasons go, but I am so very thankful for the transitioning in between. For it is in the transitioning that God gives us a safe and place to rest, a place to heal, a place to repair and a place to prepare. And while I do not yet know what the next season holds, I am content in knowing and trusting in the ONE who does, while learning to find joy in the transition in between!
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)