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The "Seasons" of Life for a Church Family

I wrote this post last week for "Life Around the Circle," and wanted to share it on our church's website.  Here it is:

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 declares:

 To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

In a calendar year, we experience 4 seasons:  spring, summer, fall, and winter.  The writer to the book of Ecclesiastes tells us about these seasons.  He also reminds us that each season has a purpose.

 In his book Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud writes:

“Life is composed of life cycles and seasons.  Nothing lasts forever.  Even the ceremonial liturgy of marriage, a lifelong commitment, acknowledges an end on its first day, “till death do us part.”  Life cycles and seasons are built into the very nature of everything.”

Dr. Cloud is right.  Even as nature has four seasons, even so we figuratively see these seasons in various aspects of our lives:  our personal lives, our marriages, our families, and our church family.

Spring is about new beginnings.  Everything is coming back to life after a dormant winter.  It is all about preparation for the coming summer.

Summer is about warmth, activity and growth.  From a farming perspective, the summer is all about the planting and care of growing crops, as the farmer enjoys the warm weather and looks forward with hope to the harvest of his crop.

Fall is a season of harvest – a truly beautiful time of the year.  Hope becomes reality.  The wait for the harvest has been worth it all.

Winter is a cold, hard, and dark season.  Everything dies or becomes dormant.  The days are short.  Adverse weather conditions occur.  Harsh conditions do not permit any growth whatsoever.  A person looks forward with hope toward spring.

Like one’s personal life, one’s marriage, and one’s family, church families also experience the different “seasons” of life.  We all look forward to spring, and we would all like to remain in the summer and fall months, and we definitely would want to avoid if at all possible the winter months. 

 So, as a church family, we do from a figurative perspective have “seasons.”  When we can identify which season we are encountering, we are reminded in Ecclesiastes 3 that GOD has a purpose in each season He places us.  Sometimes the season is winter:  long, hard, and difficult.  Sometimes the season is spring: coming out of a hard winter, and filled with hope for things coming alive again.  Sometimes the season is summer:  a time of planting, a time of growing, a time of hope for future harvest.  Sometimes the season is fall:  a time for harvesting, a time for rejoicing, and a time for hope renewed.

 Regardless of which season we encounter, let us remember that GOD is sovereign, and He has a purpose for every season.