There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. These words were in my mind as I woke this morning looking out our bedroom window over paddock with horses blurred in fog and raised sun haloed, beams dissipated by water droplets floating. Autumn. My favorite season—one of many reasons I love living here. I feel as if I missed most of summer though. We had maybe one week of hot and we never stored our jeans and sweaters. Weekly temperatures swung sometimes thirty degrees. And then, I hear, Todd and I missed the best of Wisconsin summer by flying north to Alaska. No matter. Every season has wonder.
Is it true for life? Does every season have wonder? What about the season of young where the early twenties bring angst about launching and figuring out who you really are? What about the hoping, praying, trying to find a mate and finding out after time invested there will be no return? What about the thirties and expecting to bear babies and finding your womb empty? What about the forties and realizing you’re not so young anymore? Wrinkles come and body sags and sometimes so does the soul? And the fifties when most of us women dry up and look up and wonder what the rest of our days will bring when we’ve already lived more than half of them? And the sixties and seventies and eighties and nineties? There are challenges in every season. And joy. Let’s not forget to see the joy–to drink it in full and let it spill out on all around.
The challenge is to let the challenges change us for good so our joy can be increased.
Be joyful always, God’s word says. And there is no maybe or if on the end. There’s always. Always be joyful. That’s the way to live. That’s God’s will for us. But how do we do joyful when hearts break and war kills and the broken mess of this world is available to see graphically 24/7 by the touch of a button in our palms? Questions. There must be answers. How can we hold onto joy in the midst of such sorrow?
Here’s all I know—and what I know I’m trying to live—and what I’m trying to live, I would really like—no—I really need kindred spirits to live right beside me—to walk through these days side-by-side, encouraging, holding up, praying, moving forward together . . .
Watch expectations. Do I expect life to be any different than it is? Do I think I am owed anything? Do I think the world should be different than the messy mix of beauty and broken? The minute I do—the second I believe I am entitled and I receive not, or the world should be but is not, joy flees and bitterness is given open invitation to fill the void in my spirit. I must remember this if I want to hold onto joy.
Watch questions. Why? When? How? Why did this happen? When will this change? How will things work out? Most often, I don’t know and I tire of speculating. To keep firm hold of joy, I pose the question that’s already answered. Who? God. I have determined that God is in charge of the why, the when, the how.
Choose. Choose joy. One CAN have joy even in weeping if they KNOW their destiny—if they KNOW their Creator. How can we be Christ to a broken world—to our broken selves? Weep with those who weep and help them see beyond tears, when it’s time. We need to see through and beyond our tears to the time where Christ’s promise is fulfilled—that ALL things WILL work together for GOOD and that HE is coming again. HE will wipe EVERY tear away and there will be NO MORE TEARS.
Remember. Today is not tomorrow. Temporal is not eternal. Everything changes. We are on our way home and this broken sphere on which we stand or kneel or fall is but a tiny bit of reality and it is passing away. Even the earth in its brokenness and all the world’s systems in their imperfections—everything is passing from imperfect to perfect. We have hope when we place our hope in Christ who promised.
Consider the evidence. I’m not unlike anyone else. I’m broken. I’ve been broken hearted. I’m a wondrous creation. So is everyone and everything else God breathed into existence. And because we are so wonderful, so loved by the Creator who IS love, when we hold onto Him who IS our hope and we ask Him to help us SEE, our blind eyes will be opened. I have seen the beauty He has brought from ashes in the land of the living—in my own life. Not once. Not twice. I experience His active heart and hand in my life on a daily basis. Miracle after miracle. And I keep asking Him to help me see—to keep me seeing. And I mark down the evidence. Sometimes I write on paper. Always I write in my mind. In permanent marker, I write because I want to consider the evidence that there is a God and He is good and He IS omnipotent and if things don’t change to my liking it’s because there is a better way, a better time, a bigger plan. He knows all. I know some. While I wait to know all as promised in 1 Corinthians 13, I will worship Him for WHO He is. I will trust Him because of WHO He is. I will have joy always, even when I weep, because of WHO He is. Joy is not a feeling. It’s a knowing. When we KNOW the WHO, we can rest and rock in the hammock of JOY, looking up through the leaves, face warmed by the light, knowing that this life, our life—this world, our world—is in a season. He is coming again, sure as autumn. All is well with my soul.
Give thanks. Nurture a spirit of gratitude. Simply said. Possible. Will I? So help me God.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LROD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.” Revelation 21:3-6