God gives us seasons for a reason
I don't like the winter months, if I could live anywhere in the world then it would be LA where it hits more or less 25 degrees everyday.
As I sit here and look outside my window, old leaves fall to the ground and collect. The tree withers and becomes barren. As much as I love for summer to stay, Autumn is heading and I can't do anything about that...
A Time for Everything
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 weep and a time to laugh.
A time to mourn and a time to dance
As the tree sheds its leaves, often a shedding takes place in our lives that causes us pain. In my case, I made a difficult decision to leave a situation in my life that was not helping me. This has led to loss and a mourning of what use to be and has resulted in unrest and uncertainty. I've experienced cold and dark nights where I've been forced to become dependent on God through prayer, not knowing when difficulties will end and what the outcome will be.
Growth through pain
Naturally I don't always want to embrace the pain that is often associated with growth but through the storms, all I can do is hold on and be still and know that he is God (Psalm 40:10).
Throughout it all God points me to his mercies by reminding me that "His grace is sufficient and his power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Perhaps God allows us to experience arid seasons for that reason - so we draw close to him. He swoops us up in his arms and tells us "to fear not for I AM with you"(Isaiah 41:10). See this is not some trite platitude from God because he really was with us and he really did live like one of us. God gave up his rights in heaven and came down as flesh and experienced every human emotion we experience so that "we don't have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses" (Hebrews 4:15) but one who suffered in every possible way. Our true companion is Jesus who wants to walk with us in season and out of season.
Surviving the storm
Weathering the storm is not easy, it doesn't just happen but it takes intentionality. In the same way that squirrels gather acorns so they have enough food for winter. On better days, I make faithful deposits by investing in my relationship with God and filling myself with his meaty truths and promises so when the inevitable strikes, I can withdraw from a full bank having roots anchored in HIM.
Ultimately, my pain without God is pointless but my pain with God is not, and is not without effect for "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purposes"(Romans 8:28)
I understand that this can only be fully understood backwards but this is where faith steps in. My faith gives me hope that by setting my mind on the Spring around the corner, I can endure - looking ahead to the harvest that's to come.
But made to thrive
You see, we were made not only to survive but to thrive and by coming to the true fountain of living water, this produces in us a long term effect. We replenish, we soak up fresh nutrients and in the doing so God produces flourishing fruit within us.
In many cases to yield good fruit, we need to do more than just shedding, a gruelling uprooting needs to take place in our lives and a replanting into fertile and healthy soil.
This may mean fleeing the temptations that causes us to sin or escaping the weeds that compete for our joy. Do you know if a shedding or more of an uprooting needs to take place in your life?
Start by giving up former ways of thinking and "be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2)
Letting go and trusting God
Autumn 2017 is almost here and dark nights are drawing in. Butfinally I see a ray of sunlight breaking through the clouds in my life that assures me that my patience in him was worth it. I'm trusting in the wise words of King Solomon - after weeping there will be a time to laugh, after mourning there will be a time to dance.
Letting go is not easy but journey with God and embrace this new season in your life. "Forget the former things, do not dwell in the past for I AM doing a new thing" (Isaiah 43:18)
By Ann Ajet
Starting Oct 3, Anne is helping lead the Alpha course, which includes a weekly meal and chance to explore life and the christian faith. Get in touch for more info.