By Stephen Leonard
“While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22
“ I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth…And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:13-16
The mysterious yet quite familiar rainbow, always compelling your eyes to view its striking colors, is the Creator’s declared covenant sign that the distinct seasons will continue unabated to the end of time. Or else, humanity would be terribly fearful of another possible cataclysmic flood wiping them from the earth. So, it has always been and always will be, springtime and harvest, winter and summer from the flood to the final day, encompassing the entirety of the remainder of history.
In the northern hemisphere, we are just entering this captivating time of “the changing of the leaves.” The spectacular colors of autumn displayed in glorious grandeur has always mesmerized me, adding great joy to my favorite season. I never tire of seeing nature spread its “peacock feathered tail” all over the landscape. Red maples, yellow and red aspens, oak, sassafras, dogwood, pear, hickory, apple and on and on display their colors in technicolor splendor.
Just as the four seasons of nature, though, change like clockwork year in and year out, so also the seasons of a person’s own life display unique blessings and ailments in accordance with their age and many other factors. For those who reach four score and ten, age ailments jump right in. Nor does everyone pass the springtime of life without their own cataclysms, even early death. Others see the whole gamut: spring, summer, fall and winter of life in any given age category.
This one peculiar thing happens to us all; we do experience the nature of all the seasons within any one of the age segments of our life: adolescence, twenties to thirties, middle age, older age, octogenarian and up. Those in adolescence may well experience the severity of winter. Those in middle age may also experience the renewal of spring.
How do you respond to these “seasonal” type changes in your life? With winter severity in a young age or with age ailments of older life. The seasons are. It is best for you to acknowledge such, and look for, find, and enjoy the God-blessings in every joy AND consternation. There are definitely pains associated with the distinct seasons, but there is a unique joy in seeking in the providences of your God the “blessing,” even of pain, in any and all of them.
Your perspective, your perseverance, your patience, your trust, and your faith can turn discouragement into hope and joy in the Lord. Joy in pain? It is really possible, but only in the Lord.
There are examples of such in Scripture. You see such in Abraham’s life, in King David, and the Apostle Paul, and the beloved Disciple, John, among many others. In faith, they turned the severity of winter into the refreshment of spring.
The greatest example, however, is Jesus: “Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame….” (Hebrews 12:2). Persevere your winters in seeing the joy of spring set before you, even if that spring is heaven itself.
“Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in their courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see: all I have needed thy hand hath provided—Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”
(2nd verse of Thomas Chisholm’s hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” 1923)