Changing Seasons

seasonsGod said in His Word, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecc. 3:1) There are seasons in nature, and seasons in our lives. I find it amusing though somewhat annoying at times at how we so often complain about changing seasons, especially when it comes to the weather. It’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too humid, etc. Often, we do the same in whatever current life season we are in. We want to finish school, or start that new job; we want our kids to become more independent so we can do what we want. We want to grow up and move out of our parents’ house, get married, have a baby, go on that mission trip…and so on.

We humans have such tunnel vision. We search for the light at the end, but totally miss the journey to get there – perhaps because it is dark and we can’t see what lies between where we are and where we long to be. We focus on the destination – on our destiny, the fulfillment of our dreams, arriving at that place where everything will be as we want it. Yet within the journey, God has stored the greatest treasures. Every season has its unique beauty and challenges. Each serves a vital purpose in preparing us for our ultimate destination – Christlikeness and spiritual union with Him.

It matters not whether we are going to school, learning a new job, raising children, supporting a family, serving on the mission field, training for ministry, running a business, being a wife, husband, mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, daughter, son, aunt, uncle…I hope you get the picture. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity. That sounds like it includes pretty much everything to me!

Colossians 3:23-24 says, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward…”  Whatever season we are in, whatever we do every day, matters to God. He sees it all, and uses it all for our good, to accomplish His purposes in our lives. Remembering this can help cure us of tunnel vision. Seeking the treasures He has for us on the journey will help us to be filled with gratitude rather than complaints. It isn’t always easy, but it is worth the struggle because we get to discover more of who He is and wants to be for us in each season. This will lead us into deeper intimacy, the greatest treasure of all and the ultimate destination we all long for. If we ask Him, He will help us learn to enjoy the journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Justice of God in an Unjust World

Have you ever noticed that life isn’t fair? When’s the last time you wondered why the wicked seem to get away with their wickedness? In our day, it certainly seems the darkness is winning – at least when you look at things from a surface level. Why do those who walk in integrity and honesty suddenly lose their livelihood with no warning? Why do those who serve God get sick, suffer, and die, when He paid for our healing? Is it fair for unborn children to have their lives taken, or for innocent children to be abused, or die of horrible things like cancer?justice

These and similar questions have plagued mankind since the beginning. Especially when we are told that God is in control, that He is good, and that He knows what we are going through. The truth is, that all of these things are true. Life isn’t fair, God is good, and He knows what we are going through. I have heard someone say, “For the believer, this earth is the closest to hell we will ever get, and to the unbeliever, it is the closest to heaven they will ever get.” In other words, this life, on this earth and in this age, isn’t meant to be fair. It is meant to show us we need a Savior, and to spend whatever time we are given to prepare to rule and reign with Him forever.

When things don’t go our way, when we are treated unjustly, we need to get a different perspective – a much bigger, eternal one. This life isn’t about us, or our comfort, convenience, happiness, fulfillment, accomplishments, etc. – it is about Him. Are we allowing Him to work the cross in us – dying to our desires, selfishness, etc., every day? Or do we retaliate or scream and yell to get our way, or to let the world know we are pissed when we don’t get our way? Do we recognize every act of injustice as an opportunity to be conformed into His image? Or do we miss the moment, giving in to self-pity and a victim mentality instead?

I believe God allowed injustice to be a part of our lives in this age purposely. How else would we know justice if we never suffered from injustice? How could we relate to the ultimate injustice He embraced on our behalf, if we never experienced it at the hands of others? Could we truly have compassion on those who suffer unfairly if we were ignorant of its effects?

God has given us a sense of justice and injustice because He is perfectly just in all His ways. If He lives within us, we will “weep with those who weep” and “comfort those who mourn” because He does. We will stand up and speak out on behalf of those who have no voice. Injustice will cause us to be moved by compassion as Jesus was. Though this life isn’t fair, we can rest assured that the day is soon coming when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

 

 

 

A Matter of Perspective

Perspective is everything. It is the lens through which you see and interpret life. Thoughtree it is greatly shaped by your unique upbringing, it is possible to change, and usually does change in many ways as you grow older. It has the power to dictate, to a large degree, the outcome of your life. In spite of its ability to influence your choices (often unknowingly), you are capable of determining what your perspective will be.

Here’s a simple example: do you remember visiting someone’s house as a child and thinking the house was really big, only to re-visit the same house as an adult, and being surprised to find it was much smaller than you remembered? The house didn’t change, it is exactly the same. You changed physically, from a small child to an adult, and therefore, your perspective (of the house) changed completely. Some people see a glass filled halfway with liquid as half-full, while others see it as half-empty. Both are a matter of perspective.

Most of us, when faced with adversity, would see it as a problem. But what if instead, we saw it as an opportunity? Instead of stressing out, worrying, getting angry, etc., we looked to see how God was going to show up for us, meet our need, or even change our heart? Rather than our first thought being, “Oh no! Now what am I going to do?” it was, “Oh wow! I can’t wait to see how God is going to turn this around for good!” I’ve been pondering this question a lot lately…why do we almost always see things from a negative perspective rather than a positive one? I often catch myself doing this more often than I’d like to admit, and it has been bothering me for some time now.

It seems when God is pointing His finger at something that needs changing in you, you start seeing it in almost everyone around you first. And it really gets on your nerves. Have you ever noticed that, or is it just me? I believe those of us who are Jesus followers should be the most hopeful, joyful, people on the planet because He is Hope, and He is Joy. And more than anything, I want to be like Him. The older I get, the more I realize how desperately I need Him to change me – and my perspective. I’m so very thankful that He not only is able, but willing, because that is His desire as well. He wants children that are a reflection of His nature, and He absolutely LOVES taking us through the process! And, I never thought I would say this, but I’m learning to love it, too!

In what ways has God changed your perspective? In what ways would you like Him to? I would love to hear your comments!