So often moms talk about seasons of life.
We like to remind ourselves frequently about the transient changing nature of our children. If we’re having a hard day with our three year old, we take the wiser, long-view approach and remember that this is a season. It will pass. We will be faithful to parent and shepherd through this hard time, knowing that it won’t always be this way.
And the same is true for our emotional state. How often I remind myself that the irrational thoughts I’m thinking will not last. They will subside and this season of feeling a certain way will wax and eventually wane. It’s hopeful to acknowledge this, to acknowledge the fact that life is not normally static. It’s like the weather–it goes in seasons and changes even daily. Seasons are comforting–there’s a beginning, a middle and an end.
Yet there are some parts of life that aren’t so seasonal. Or they’re unpredictable seasons at best. What do we do when our season may not change or it may be prolonged? And what if that prolonged season is a hard one?
There are personal seasons in our lives that are not so much seasons, but a way of life–maybe a disabled child, a chronic illness, a financial strain. And no matter the length or the depth of difficulty, as Christians we can rest assured that these are not arbitrary. Both the length and the depth are suited exactly to what will bring us to the end, refined and reflective of Christ. And more than that, we can be assured that for the duration, it will be a season where grace is abounding to us in increasing measure in the presence of the Lord.
The same holds true in a broader sense for the hard season Christians find themselves in now with the heart-breaking SCOTUS ruling on so-called same sex marriage. I say “so-called” not to mock it, but to revere the God who made marriage between a man and a woman in the beginning and to whom we owe everything: life and breath and all the rest. I cannot redefine a term that He has made and given clear definition to, that’s why I say “so-called.” I say it because to do otherwise would be unloving and untrue. God does love us all. He loves sinners. He came so that all of us sinners could not only be saved by Him, but die with Him, die to our sin–to ourselves and our own notions of right and wrong–and live in Him and His unchanging goodness and truth.
In this likely prolonged season that our country has entered, where sex and race, are all becoming simply abstract changeable concepts, we can rest assured that although difficult, grace will be given to us for the duration, in increasing measure to those who love him and fear him and keep his commands. He will not leave us alone, he will give all the grace and mercy needed each day for every possible circumstance and for the long haul of this season we now find ourselves in.
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:16-17 ESV)
Thank you Abigail. May our love for God be primary, but may the love of God demonstrated in dying for us while we were yet “grotesque” shape our love for others and conversations with people as we stand uncompromisingly in the truth of God’s Word.
Gracious words and full of hope. Thank you for promoting encouragement. There is going to be great need of it. And yet I have a lot of hope that the Church is going to rediscover the wonder and glory of riding into the storm instead of hiding in the harbor.
Our first instinct when the storm hits is always to seek refuge down in the cellar and hunker down to ride out the storm. It is so easy to be fixated on “once the storm has passed” and to just try to get past it so we can get back to what we planned on. But if we just try to survive it and get beyond it we miss the glory God is displaying. Where the storm rages around the Church, that is where God’s power is most present – and where His beauty is most breathtaking.
One of the great wonders is that the storm changes us. Those seasons increase the measure of God’s Spirit displayed in us. Whether it’s chronic physical or emotional pain, or a hostile culture, or the loss of our friendships, it is amazing how after leaning entirely on God’s grace, we realize we are stronger. His power has been perfected in us and our endurance has transformed us. We are braver and wiser and more ready to trust Him. I love 1 Peter 1:3-7, most of all verse 7:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Would I rather have it that the glory of God would be lesser on that Day, so that I could have it easier now? When I want to duck and sidestep suffering and hardship, I am actually risking taking away from the precious glory of God. But the reverse is also true: every ounce of suffering we go through produces something. As you said, it is never wasted. We often cannot see what it’s producing, but that doesn’t change the fact that what is gained is infinitely wonderful and valuable. We press on because God is making this trial serve Him and us. And the measure of God’s glory is going to be the measure of our joy on the day we see Him face to face.
Thanks Anthony. Well said.
I’m sorry but I just did not like your article on Desiring God and I don’t agree with your uncertainty of your disabled childs salvation. I didn’t really even understand your point. I think it’s sad that you will
go through life unsure that you will meet with him with the risen savior in a new body, glorious and totally abled. That is almost the one thing that gives me amazing hope and strength to carry on with my son. I once saw a man with cerebral palsy in a vision standing tall and fully redeemed, I believe it will happen. I pray that you will find hope and trust that your son will be with Jesus fully healed and standing tall at the end of the age. I can’t wait to have a full conversation with my son when we finally meet.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer. I have great hope that disabled people will be with the Lord–I think it reflects God’s character, his kindness and special love for the lowly, and I base my hope on that. I simply cannot say with utter assurance that I know what will happen though. I’m trusting God on that. Blessings, Abigail