Ecclesiastes 3 talks about how there is a time for everything and season for activity under the heavens. There are seasons, cycles and patterns that we find throughout nature. At this present time in Northern Europe we’re experiencing the fullness of Autumn. The leaves are all turning magnificent oranges, yellows and browns; the wind has turned colder and the nights are drawing in. We pull out our favourite woollen jumpers, hats and scarfs. Family walks along the beach are blustery and chilly as we seek shelter to warm our bodies with hot chocolate. It is truly a soulful time. This is a needed time, nature begins to look beyond the abundance of summer towards rest and a time of deepening.
God created this beautiful world with such diversity and beauty. The seasons we experience in the natural point to the God who is the author of our story as well as our guide on the pilgrimage through life, and who leads us through seasons and patterns for us to grow, heal, serve, retreat, plant, sow and reap.
Life moves forward. There is nothing we can do about it.
All creation flows in rhythms and cycles. If our lives are truly in Christ, we’ll yield and allow ourselves to be guided by Him, embracing the need to flow and respond to the season that we are being led into.
We can use the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter to help us define a season and it’s idiosyncrasies, as well as using them to discern the appropriate response.
Spring births new life, often slowly, perfectly patient. Springs speaks of rebirth and new growth. Creation sees the fruit of winters undergrowth and deepening, the fruit of things previously planted. Spring brings answers to questions that were birthed in Autumn and wrestled through Winter. We have walked through death, through our personal Calvery and we’re beginning to walk the resurrection life, leaving behind fears and doubts when we wondered if we’d ever see the light of morning again. Spring morning is joy, it is a time to worship and a time to share life with others.
Spring is restoration. During this season our Spirit joins with all creation as it begins to transform into it’s true nature and colour, baroness makes way for abundance, we are awakened. It is a time for thankfulness as we move toward intentional growth.
Summer is the season of abundance, the desire to give and share from the bounty we’ve been blessed with and the storehouses from which we draw. We are energised and playful as we move fully aware of God’s presence and delight. We look outward with a deep sense of satisfaction with self, the world around us and our place within it. This is a time for truly living incarnationally in the community in which we dwell.
Summer is about discovery of calling, igniting passions in our hearts. We’re compelled to move into action by the movements of our hearts and the fire that burns there. This is not a time for too much introspection, the world is crying out for our gifts and our love…..for the uniqueness that only we can bring.
Mature pilgrims on this ancient path through the seasons will be aware of just how important it is to continue to keep simple rhythms during summer, despite the excitement, in order to remain close and in deep union with God.
Autumn is the time of transition between the bounty of summer to the baroness of winter. A time of harvest and loss. We are thankful for the abundance, all the while preparing for a time of withdrawing and deepening. We sense the desire whispering to our souls that we must step back from the foreground. Autumn brings with it the importance of easing off the accelerator in order to take the time to notice the Father, our healer and restorer, working in the deep areas of our lives, drawing us closer to His heart and intentions.
Autumn reminds us that we inhabit the time between two Edens, we don’t live in perpetual summer. We must wait…..and not lose our wonder. We must accept the call to slow down, to find new meaning, to let go of the ‘doing’ and embrace, to notice and be thankful for the fruits of the previous season.
Winter often feels like we’re running on empty. We can be found occupying the wilderness places of the soul. The theme of the winter is learning to trust not in our own understanding but in the love of the One who leads us into the wilderness……to trust in Him to grow deep roots within us, roots to weather out current and future storms and then to bear fruit.
Winter is leaving things behind in order to pick up new things. Learning to hold lightly and release.
During Winter we vulnerably offer God the dark places of our hearts, while discovering that we’ve found Him there, in the darkness of the process and season. If we learn to lean and trust, the baroness of the season brings coherence to things that appeared murky and distorted. Be real. God resides in the reality of our situations. We find God in the weakness and frailty of our humanity.
Spend more time in solitude. Practice silence and listening. Unplug from the Matrix. It’s OK to step back for the season. There is a ‘time to tear and a time to mend’, ‘a time to embrace and a time to refrain.’
Take heart dear pilgrim, for Spring is coming.
We will all have to weather these seasons in the journey through life, the key is accepting and learning to respond appropriately and with trust and confidence in Jesus.
What season would you be in right now? Is it easy to define?
What do you need to do in order to respond?
Ask the guide and comforter. This takes time. Slow Down. Embrace the undulating landscape and shifting tides.
Take heart dear pilgrim, for Eden is coming.