Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Ben Doggett considers how to see the seasons of life through God's eyes.

Ben Doggett
Ben Doggett

Like so many other British people I feel an odd sense of obligation to speak about the weather. I can't fight this urge and so perhaps you'll indulge me as I share with you my most recent life observation that is shamelessly wrapped up in a weather analogy!

As a nation we've just been rocked by 'The Beast from the East'. Despite most of the nation shutting down, we managed to make it through! What surprised me the most during my cosy days off work was simply how beautiful the snow was. It was cold, wet and caused chaos to our lives but, as it lay cloaking everything in sight, it was unarguably absolutely stunning.

In Christian life we often talk about 'seasons'. You may hear "I've been through a difficult season" or "Oh, it's just a season." We use the expression to describe different times in our lives that arise, have their moment and pass again.

About two years ago, my wife and I went through a big change in season. Both family life and work life changed completely and it felt like we had swapped lives with another couple almost overnight. Although the changes were positive, they brought such a shift in life that it took us both by surprise. As we tried to adjust to our new life it at times felt like a cold and grey winter season.

As I reflect on all the recent snow, I feel like God's given me a new perspective on winter. During spring and summer it doesn't take much to see the beauty and marvel at the wonder around you. But the snow gave me the chance to see that just because it's winter, doesn't mean that there aren't times in which you can sit back and admire what God is able to do. It may not suddenly feel like an afternoon of tanning in the Bahamas but it is a reminder that even in the midst of hardship we can still be surprised by wonder.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a classic scripture about seasons.

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

If I'm honest, some of the above mentioned seasons are not very appealing. But, there is a time for them all. I'm encouraged when I remind myself that even our sinless Saviour experienced tough 'winter seasons' in which life didn't seem all rosy. He understands.

Challenging and dark times are not something we should run away from. They are not a sign of failure or defeat. We have a God who will walk with us through those challenges. He's a God who is there to warm us up when life gets cold and to remind us that spring is coming. And who knows, maybe in the midst of the winter, we'll get to see some snow? CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.