Seasons…one would think that after almost 70 years of observing the seasons change that I’d just come to easily accept the changes that take place as we transition from one to another. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE the fact that we get to observe four seasons here in North Idaho. For over 40 years in Alaska, I experienced mostly two seasons each year. In Interior Alaska, we had about nine months of winter and three months of summer. In Delta Junction, we experienced some extremely cold and extremely hot temperatures in each. In Southeast Alaska, we had mostly Spring and Fall—rainy, moderate temperatures in both. So, having four seasons is a real treat. BUT, every seasonal change brings much adjustment for my pea-pickin’ noggin!
When I force myself to think through this adjustment phase (regardless of which season I’m leaving and joining), I’m always quite grateful for the pleasures of each one.
Winter brings that clean, white snow and bright blue skies above. The darkness allows me to clearly see the constellations and focus on the heavens above. The rush of Spring brings that special, light-green emergence of new growth everywhere. I marvel as the once slumbering bushes and deciduous trees come to life once again. Then, Summer brings the explosion of perennial bulbs, followed shortly by the annual fragrant and colorful blooms of petunias in my yard. And, of course, the delectable tomatoes and zucchini, green beans, mint and basil. Fall brings the bright red of the burning bush and berry bushes, bright yellow of the tamarack and orange of the maple trees. God’s paintbrush brings splashes of color!
Although I hate to admit it, I must also confess the downside I feel through these seasonal adjustments.
Winter’s darkness causes a lack of internal energy in me, not a condition I enjoy. Spring means the task of cleaning-up that which has been covered by darkness, dead leaves, and snow. Summer gets too hot for my comfort, and air conditioning is too cold. Fall means the death knell for my vegetables and flowers.
Okay, okay, time to snap out of it and turn to my source for constant inspiration, the Bible: And, wouldn’t you know it? No problem finding encouragement in Psalm 126: 5-6.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
Not only does it talk about the ups and downs of life, but the passages also connect it to these seasonal changes! Hm, what else does the Bible say?
At Lystra, Paul and Barnabas preached to the Gentiles. While they turned many to God, others assaulted them.
Yes, even though I might want to look at these adjustments in a negative light, He lifts me with His enumerable gifts.
Admittedly, the Byrds first introduced me to Ecclesiastes by singing Pete Seeger’s tune, “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season).” He took those lyrics almost verbatim from Ecclesiastes 3.
Even though Ecclesiastes was written well over two millennia before, there is comfort in knowing many before me have wrestled with adjusting to the changes in the seasons of life. There is a rhythm to life, and I should learn to go with the flow more.
I think our children’s director, Carley Walker, sums it up nicely when she tells us that the Bible is God’s love story and instruction manual for us. Truly, the Bible brings me much comfort and knowledge that whatever I’m going through, God is with me, guiding my way.
For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end. (Psalm 48:14)
Amen! Your friend in Christ,
lovely song or bright plumage to grab our attention. They generally live in large cities and nest on buildings. They scavenge for seeds or small insects and pretty much do their own thing unnoticed by most of the world. People around the world are familiar with sparrows, but they are so common and ordinary that I have never once heard anyone exclaim, “Look! A sparrow!” Why would we care about something so common, so plain, so ordinary?
If you have been in church for any length of time you have probably heard the song His Eye Is on the Sparrow. It is a beautiful song of God’s care and is based on Matthew 10, when Jesus is giving some instructions to His disciples. Jesus talks a lot about fear and God’s care in this chapter, and then He suddenly throws in this lesson on value using the common sparrow.
Jesus knows what we are up against; He is familiar with our sufferings. One of the common sufferings of people is a misunderstanding of their value. We say things to ourselves, like, “I am not a great singer,” “I am not attractive,” “I don’t do anything exciting or fascinating,” “I am common, plain, ordinary.” We de-value ourselves on many levels. We have no value because of money, heritage, race, gender, the car we drive, the shoes we wear, and the very food we eat.
Jesus knew our tendency towards tearing people down. We tear another person down out of our pride, and then turn around and tear ourselves down out of shame. We are masters of both self-righteous pride and low self-esteem. It is a subtle, but painful, abuse of our value as humans. So enters a beautiful lesson with something so common: the sparrow. Jesus points to a small bird that no one really notices and tells us that God in heaven, running the universe, knows every time one of these plain, ordinary birds falls to the ground. It is a picture of an Almighty Father who cares deeply for even the smallest bird.
God made the sparrow common. He gave it plain feathers, and a simple life. The same God chose to make us in His image and declared out of all things He created that humans were very good. So consider, if this same Father is looking after birds that He designed to be common, will He not look after you whom He designed with more intricacy? Is there anything really plain about another human being, when every person has a unique personality and story? We may not see the value God has given us all of the time, but the sparrow reminds us that God sees each of us as precious, valuable, and His.
As you go about your day, dwell on all of the many passages that God has given us about our value and the value of those around us. When we walk in the truth of how much God loves us and cares for us, we can find peace and common ground that our Father has His eyes on all that He has made. Even the common, plain, and ordinary are precious to Him.
In His Name,
acts of selflessness, love, and kindness. Some of those acts of kindness probably saved my life.
God’s letter of love, the Bible, is filled with good advice. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” “O rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him.” “He waits on high to have compassion on you, to be gracious to you.” “I, the Lord, am your God; open your mouth and I will fill it!”
Being a Christian requires a climber’s faith. Trust in the Lord, and. . . CLIMB ON!
In His Name,
experience seasons in our lives. Transition and change can be both exciting and worry-inducing. Maybe it’s a major life change, a change in our daily routine, or maybe a change of pace from the warm summer months. Whatever season we are walking through, the Lord our God goes with us.
In my own life, back-to-school is a big change of pace for the fall season. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all that lies ahead, both known and unknown. It’s easy to get swept away in the hustle and bustle of it all. Our lives are filled with so much noise in our day-to-day. Worry sneaks into our lives.
BUT, what happens when we reframe our worries into prayer? Praying our worries to God can lighten our load, knowing and trusting that God has got a plan. My encouragement for us all is to take hold of our anchor, and spend intentional time with Jesus each day; slow down, pause, listen, cast out our worries, and rest in Christ’s comfort.
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.