IN WHAT SEASON ARE YOU?
For South Africans, this must be a very dumb question. We are in winter and this year by all indications, will indeed be a very cold and challenging one. The greater part of the country was over the last two weekends gripped in an icy chill and we are forever reminded of some cold front coming from the western part and even rainfall in areas least expected this time of the year. It is also challenging with all the load shedding and ever-increasing electricity prices; the comfort of a heater or underfloor heating has become a real luxury.
Believe it or not, winter is my favorite season. It brings a bit of order back into my life. Unlike in summer, where my days are pacey and packed till early evenings, winter days are relatively short, affording me more opportunities to rest and build up strength for the tasks that lie ahead. Well, I am sure we can have a long debate about your favorite season but as Solomon once said in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “ To everything there is a season and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.”
In life we are also going through certain seasons. Unlike in the natural, where each season takes about three months in a specific sequence, spiritual seasons have no definitive duration and there is an element of unpredictabilty. When I reflect back on my own life experiences, I appreciate the fact that the purpose for each season, was to produce growth and prepare me for the next level of my life.
WE ALL GO THROUGH WINTERS IN LIFE
Winter is a tough season where things appear dry as if life has deserted the environment. It engenders feelings of despair, hopelessness and abandonment. When we look at a tree, there is no sign of any fruit or substance and its usefulness is a faded memory. We have no clue how this dead grass or barren tree, battered by frost and the chilling conditions of winter, will ever come to life again. Yet we trust the process because we have been through many winters before. Some of us have made our trust in God a way of life, yet have no idea about how He is going to turn our winter around in for example, some of the following areas:
- you have a very exciting and ground breaking business proposition that simply cannot attract the right funding mechanism, notwithstanding the fact that you knocked on many doors and the glaring need for it in the market place.
- your spouse whom you have been praying for years, has gone hopelessly astray and not pursuing God’s plan and purpose for his/ her life; things seem to go from better to worse.
- a working environment that is untenable, where corruption has increasingly become mainstream and ethics is non-existent.
- you have a medical problem that is of great concern to you, the cause of which is not clear, notwithstanding consultations with the best practitioners.
I don’t know what your winter looks like? I had my fair share of winters and knows that there are still many more to come. It is not a matter of if but when it comes; no-one of us is exempted from this season in your life. The sooner you come to grips with this reality, the better equipped you will be for this unavoidable eventuality. Your attitude during this season, will determine whether you will successfully go through it or not. I fully agree with Charles Stanley who puts it so aptly “Our heavenly Father understands our disappointment, suffering, pain, fear and doubt. He is always there to encourage our hearts and help us understand that He’s sufficient for all of our needs. When I accepted this as an absolute truth in my life, I found that my worrying stopped.”
PREPARE THE GARDEN
Every dedicated gardener, spend a lot of time to minimize damage to plants during winter and in the latter part, also prepares appropriately for summer. To maximize the output of your summer in life, during your winter season give attention to:
- Investing quality time with those closest to you and enjoy the opportunities of being indoors. A booster dose of love and comfort with those close to you, is a great antidote for disillusionment.
- Confide in a trusted friend on matters that need clarity, new insights and perspectives moving forward.
- Pruning of all those things that will hinder growth and fruitfulness. Remove any unnecessary clutter from your life and determine where your focus should be moving forward. This should be the time to prepare yourself to be future fit.
- Prepare the soil of your heart. Till the ground and remove all the thorns and rocky stuff like unforgiveness, bitterness, discontent, doubt, envy and after that, infuse it with the right fertilizer called – persistent prayer.
Though winter can be an unpleasant season concerning extremely cold temperatures, it can turn out to be a pleasant season with much needed calmness. It is also an essential season to maintain an ecological balance. Winter is but a season. Be kind to yourself during this season of your life and do not indulge in any exaggerated expectations or any unfair comparisons of what you have and do not have. Longevity in life depends on how successful we navigate the seasons of our life. In the words of Anne Bradstreet “If we had no winter, the spring will not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Embrace the season of your life gracefully!