Spring has finally arrived here in Northern Michigan. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to skip to spring and move straight into summer, but indeed — spring has sprung.
In the past three days, the snow has almost entirely disappeared, the lake has thawed out and the temperature has made a noticeable climb upward on the thermometer. The wind has also changed directions and warmed up. It’s actually quite a pleasant shift.
Today, in fact, I’m sitting in my living room looking out at a 68 degree day. I’m thankful for the sunshine, the return of the birds and the growth that is accompanying this seasonal shift. We may yet get another freakish snow fall, but clearly, winter has passed.
Season are great that way. They come and they go. We each have our favorites and each season serves its purpose. Winter refreshes our lakes, streams and waterways with freshly fallen snow and frequent rain storms. Spring brings life back from the seemingly lifeless ground that took a rest during winter. Summer sunshine allows for rapid growth and a strengthening of structure. Fall allows us to reap the rewards of the harvest and gives us time to stock up before winter. These seasons are important.
As are the seasons in the life.
Sometimes it’s winter for a very long time. Circumstances are bleak. The skies are grey and show no signs of lifting and it feels like every time you look to the sky, God sends more snow, rain and difficulties. Other times, the sun is out. Life is good, and you are energized and strengthened by the ebb and flow of life. It seems like every little rain cloud that shows up on the horizon dissipates quickly or sends a gentle cooling rain that is just perfect. These seasons we never want to leave.
Whatever season you are in right now, remember that it will pass. The re-blooming of life after winter is just a season, one that will eventually give way to another season. The rich reward and hard work of fall is also a passing time, and after it will come another time-restrained session of life. I know our family has been blessed with a season of summer. We have been so strengthened by the journey of late, God’s blessing seems so rich, but we know the hard work of fall lies straight ahead. And soon, we will encounter the struggles of winter as we labor away in this new ministry.
The point is that season are normal. We shouldn’t strive to be in any one season for too long, because without the seasons, they cycles of our lives are incomplete (notice how careful I was to avoid song-sticking-in-your-head mistake of saying “circle of life”). Even in the most tropical places on our planet, physical seasons come and go allowing for everything to experience the necessary changes that come through change. And our lives are no different: we must experience change, if we are going to experience change.
In a pretty familiar passage of Ecclesiastes, Solomon reminds us that everything has a season:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and time to heal,
a time to tear down and time to build,
a time to weep and time to laugh,
a time to mourn and time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and time to refrain,
a time to search and time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and and a time to hate,
a time for war and time for peace.
Remember that as you live the Overboard Life, you will experience season — you must! Some seasons are certainly more enjoyable than others, but all of them are necessary if we are to become the people God wants us to be. I love the summer and I love the fall, but if I didn’t experience winter and spring, the things I enjoy about summer and fall would be lost.
Don’t despair if the season you are in is difficult. Hang on in faith, believing that the next season is near. And don’t fret if you are enjoying a great summer (or fall, or winter or spring!). Yes, things will change as seasons do, but each change produces in us what is required so that we are better ready for the richness of the next great season.
Living Overboard reminds us that all seasons are from our God, and for God’s great glory. So embrace them as they come, even the tough ones, and know that God is producing in you what only He can — and these seasons are His way of working.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!