Walking with the Lord throughout all life's ups and downs.
In 1966 Frank Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year” won the Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal Performance. The song that accents seasons of life begins with a summer theme:
When I was seventeen
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for small-town girls
And Soft summer nights
We’d hide from the lights
On the village green
When I was seventeen.
I love summer. All the seasons are special for various reasons. But the warmer months, with their longer days which start off cool with the Mourning Dove singing, are a bit intoxicating. As a student, I looked forward to a long break from the classroom. Summer represents walks along the beach, corn on the cob, watermelon, and family gatherings.
When the Old Testament speaks about seasons it’s as a reference to the many events and dynamics of life: For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter (activity) under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
The author lists some twenty-eight life events that will most likely take place in a person’s life at one time, way, or another. Examples such as “to plant and a time to uproot, to be silent and a time to speak.” What do we learn from the passage?
Life is contained and possessed.
That is, there is not an infinite number of experiences and dynamics to our story. Life begins at birth and will end in death. The various life events that take place in between may be many yet limited. Your story and my story will have many similarities. Most have some form of education, family experience, work, and much more. It is all “under heaven.” That means that none of it belongs to us regardless of the effort and work we may have applied. It is from God and is under his rule.
Life has a limited shelf life.
We are not here forever. The day will come when we will take our last breath. That is certain. You just do not know when. So, it is important that we own this truth and prepare for it. It means that we are to care well for that which has been entrusted to us. Do not waste the resources, talent, and time given. We should work smart and with diligence knowing that we will give an account to our Lord for how we stewarded our time. I live with the reality that by grace heaven waits for me. Yet, my life must be lived wisely.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there will be “a time to weep and a time to laugh, A time to mourn and a time to dance.”
There are occasions when life is somber, sad, and maybe even dark. There may be the “valley of the shadow of death” seasons. Yet there is the promise of a new day, a new start, and an occasion to celebrate. Our joy and celebration are not rooted in our circumstances or achievements. It is rooted in the gospel. It is fixed in the person and work of Jesus Christ who regularly pours out his love upon us.
The Psalmist says, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
To find our Lord completely sufficient is only by his grace. As I experience the various seasons of life. I want to make sure that I am well-grounded in my relationship with Christ. So, I spend time listening to his voice as represented in the Old and New Testaments. Additionally, I am committed to spending time in prayer praying for all kinds of petitions. As I pray, I ask that whatever season in life I am in, I will view it from the same perspective as that of my Lord and give him praise and thanksgiving.
Chuck Garriott is the founder and Executive Director of Ministry to State.