“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
I gave my life to Jesus at the age of 7. I knew, even at that small age that I was hopeless without him. I knew it so much that I woke my mom up early in the morning because I couldn’t wait any longer to tell him that he could have me from my head to my toes. I didn’t know what all that would mean but I knew enough to mean it with all that I was at 7 years old. Ten years later at the age of 17, I gave my life to him again but in a different way. I promised him that I would spend my life working for him, whatever that meant. I didn’t know what he would ask of me, I just knew that this specific thing was what he was asking in that moment; my life, fully and completely given to his work in ministry to others. I didn’t know what that was going to look like or how it would shake out or what kind of magnificent beauty and what kind of indescribable lonely I had just given myself to.
Life is filled with so many seasons! Ministry is filled with so many seasons. With each season we are, I think, aware of who God is in a different way. Not because God changes with the seasons, but because we do and we are more aware of him in new ways. I love the words of John Mark McMillian “I know that I love you, but sometimes I’m afraid…I know that I need you but sometimes I know it more.” In the hardest seasons, I know more than ever how much I need him in ways I’m not always aware of when times are less trying.
The past 6 years of our ministry have been a very hard and long season. These years have tested and tried us in so many ways. There have been moments of incredible beauty and hideous ugly. There has been new life and there has been death. We have welcomed in new friends and said goodbye to old ones. We have forged friendships in the most unlikely companions and we have walked away from friendships we thought would last a lifetime but were only ever given to us as seasonal. We have stood on the shoulders of giants and we have fallen off those same shoulders to become shoulders for others to use for a while. We have opened our hearts and we have been both rewarded and destroyed. We have trusted and we have withdrawn trust. We have laughed and we have cried.
We have learned when it’s time to fight and press on even though we are torn down and we have learned when it’s time to retreat and allow God to sing over our wounds and rebuild us. We have been caught and we have been dropped. We have given thanks and we have asked why. In all of these things God has been faithful and present and real. In these times we have known how much we needed to follow him and to be obedient but we have felt massive fear even in the knowing. In the hardships, we have recognized like never before how much we need him.
As seasons change, strange winds sweep over us inviting the next chapter. We never have a guarantee of what those pages will be filled with. Sometimes they bring the new life of Spring and sometimes the harsh and dormant cold of winter. Sometimes God speaks volumes and sometimes he is painfully silent but all the time he is present and he is good.
No matter what season you are in and no matter what uncertainty you are facing, hold onto him and the love he has promised because though the seasons change, he doesn’t! “The valley of the shadow knows our name. We have seen a night, but we have seen the day. Dressed in the blood of love’s hot veins, we have overcome” John Mark McMillan.
Whether we are working on the threshing floor or experiencing the ripe bounty of harvest. Whether we are laughing or crying, building or tearing down, we have already overcome by the blood of Jesus. Our promise is in him, not in the seasons he’s shaping us through. Even when we are afraid to hope, we have overcome. In every season he is our constant and his promises are yes in Jesus. So, whether this is your finest hour, or your darkest one yet, hold onto the love he has promised!