Ecclesiastes 3:1 says,
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”
If there’s one verse I’ve been able to resonate with throughout my entire life, this is it. Growing up, the seasons of my life were marked by what grade I was in and what changes were approaching in my life. Even in college, early on after my husband and I started dating, we began to notice how everything in our lives seemed to be so seasonal. For example, we met while we were in college, I was living at home, and we were each on unique degree paths. We lived in that season for a little while. Then came the season where I transferred schools and moved out and onto campus, just five minutes away from each other. We lived in that season for a little while. A few short months later, we got engaged… another new season. Then, four months after our engagement, my husband completely changed degree paths. Six months later, we got married and moved. Four months later, we moved again. (So many new seasons!)
Now that we’re married, I can relate to this verse more than ever before. Our lives seem to always be changing. We’ll complete one goal or stage of life and start the next one. We’ll make plans, and unforeseen circumstances will adjust them. We’ll envision one thing for our year or for the next several months, and then God shuts a door and a new season begins. And here’s the thing, guys: I don’t like change. Change scares me, it shakes me, and it stresses me out.
However, lately, I’ve been forced to realize that God is a God of newness, of change, of growth, and of seasons. For things to grow, things have to change… plain and simple. I simply can’t hold on to my ideas of what I think our life is going to look like, because those things make very lousy gods when the bottom drops out on you and something does change… when another season comes. New seasons are inevitable, and the best thing we can cling to when they come is Jesus, not the thing we didn’t expect to change.
Today, we’re reading Acts 16. I can’t help but wonder what this chapter would have looked like if Paul and Timothy decided they didn’t want to embrace new seasons, changes, and growth in their ministry. Read through Acts 16 with me… Paul started out doing ministry on his own; that’s a season. Then, he added Timothy to the mix… another new season. Then, as you’ll see, the pair stayed only for a season in every single place they preached.
Yet, instead of becoming attached to their current seasons and the work they thought they had to do there, as soon as the Spirit spoke to their hearts, these two got up and were on their way. Goodness, at one point, these guys were convinced they belonged in one place for a season, but God literally would not allow them to travel there! (See Acts 16:7) Some of these seasons were fruitful and full of joy, bringing with them baptisms and entire families converting to the faith. Still other seasons found Paul and Timothy stuck in jail or beaten in front of a crowd. Yet, in each season, God worked. What an incredible example Acts 16 is to a girl like me, who color codes her planner, has goals for her goals, and tries not to panic when her plans for the weekend change!
Friends, I’m realizing so much lately that God has specific work ready for us to do in every season we find ourselves in. Sometimes, the seasons don’t last as long as we’d like them to, think they should, or thought they would. Sometimes, the seasons are hard… we’re stuck in a metaphorical jail for the evening, if you will. Some seasons are full of joy and abundance. But as we see in Acts 16, God’s hand is evident in each and every season. He has plans for each season. And there wasn’t a season of Paul and Timothy’s ministry where the Lord did not do something incredible, come through in a miraculous way, or work through the circumstances of that season.
Truly, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Be reminded of this today, no matter what season you find yourself in.