The air is beginning to chill. The leaves are turning spectacular colors as they die and begin to fall. Soon the howling winds of winter will cause snow to drift in my driveway. But it won’t last–spring will eventually bloom! Somehow there’s just something special about living in a geographical area blessed with four specific seasons (although winter becomes less and less desirable as I grow older).
Beneath the surface of Pennsylvania’s seasonal changes something dynamic is happening. The cycles of life and death are producing hardwoods that are both beautiful and durable. PA hardwoods are highly sought, producing some of the finest furniture available—all made possible by seasonal cycles.
Life too has its seasons. How bored we would be otherwise! Of course, we’d always like to see the good seasons last longer, but how refreshing it is to remind ourselves that wilderness seasons are not intended to last forever. They will end. A new day will rise. Wilderness seasons are only intended to be temporary.
There are extended times when sacrifice seems to always be the word of the day and others when we feel overrun by blessings. On some occasions we may feel the heat of conflict or the coldness of isolation. But how we are affected by life’s seasons depends in large part on how we respond to the challenges accompanied by the cycles of ease and difficulty that we all face. Fail to respond in faith and love, and the desolate nature of a wilderness experience can last a lifetime!
Of course, every illustration has its limitations and while God seeks to grow us as strong and durable people, the last thing He desires is for our hearts to become hardened and cold. In fact, wilderness seasons are intended to soften our hearts—facilitating faith and creating practical avenues for love to find its full expression.
Those who seek to identify with Christ and lay hold of His promises are transformed into beautiful and durable works of art by the hand of the Master. Those who choose self-centered paths soon become characterized by darkness and cynicism. It really is all about how we choose to weather the various seasons of life.
In the coming weeks I’ll share some thoughts about forgiveness, love and unity. Dark forces in this world constantly seek to harden our hearts and to chill our love. If we can learn to navigate the dangerous waters of our tumultuous times, we’ll see the mighty hand of God revealed in powerful ways!
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)