Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Changing Seasons

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1

The season has changed. New growth sprouts silently from the muddied ground, leaf buds give life to barren branches; missing birds return, sleepy animals emerge from their slumber. The timeless evidence is unmistaken; it's spring.

It didn't announce its return with any loud fanfare. Instead, it crept in unnoticeably silent. We anticipated its appearance and yet for some reason, we were surprised to witness those first signs.

Isn't it that way with the changing seasons of our lives, too? The spring of our lives is full of growth and changes celebrated with great applause and recognition. All our needs and wants are met (hopefully) by loving parents. In summer we're independent, busy raising our own children, barely taking time to stop and glance into the mirror. Then fall arrives. Life slows down a bit. We take time for "us" and reevaluate where it is we're headed. We finally take time to look at our reflections. At first we're startled to see our mother or father staring back at us. Quickly coming to our senses we wonder, "When did all those gray hairs and wrinkles appear?" Ah yes, those timeless signs of change crept in unnoticeably silent.

My husband and I have watched winter from a distance for awhile, now. It began as a season of perpetual light with our parents enjoying the harvest of a growing, extended family. They're faces glowed and, except for the crowns of snow on their heads, they seemed younger to me. However, in these past few years, the storms have come with greater frequency. The winter winds are now howling. Timeless signs of change are no longer silent but rather roaring in like a hungry lion. They just can't weather these storms alone any longer.

Recently, God reminded me of His design for family; how we are to care for one another in every season of life. In the Ten Commandments God wrote, "Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12). Unfortunately, our modern families have grown farther apart by distance and dysfunction. We've focused on ourselves ("me") so much that we've forgotten who gave us life. We've forgotten that honoring our father and mother applies to us until their death. Paul says it more pointedly in his first letter to Timothy, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Tim. 5:8). In other words, if we call ourselves Christians but don't care for your closest relatives, then we're hypocrites. Ouch!

I'll admit, winter is a tough season. The storms are frequent and harsh. But weathered together, surrounded by those you love gives you strength. It makes the season more bearable. Like every season, winter doesn't last forever. Silently, from beneath the snow, new life begins.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for Gods wrath remains on them." (John 3:36)

"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." 1 John 5:11


  1. And doesn't each season, in its own way, have its own unique beauty? Some are more vibrant and energetic, others subtle and peaceful, but beautiful just the same ...

  2. Joanne, I couldn't agree more. We glean something positive from every season.

  3. I struggle with the winter also. How much are we responsible for in relation to "providing" for our relatives? Any thoughts relating to putting your elders in nursing homes? I struggle with whether I'm sinning by not caring for my mom myself. Tough questions of life...

  4. MaineGal, there is no shame in providing care for our loved ones in a nursing home when it is the best care we could provide and care that is beyond the scope of what we could give. There is no shame when done for the right reasons.