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Handling Life's Problems

A Change of Seasons

Seasons come and go…

I like to laugh. Who doesn’t? I like it when everything in my life is smooth and easy. Who doesn’t? Personally, I would prefer not to ever have any sadness, problems, or even challenges in my life. How about you?

Life’s not that way. Life has seasons. There are times of laughter, but also seasons of tears. There’s a season to plant and a time to harvest. Just as we see spring turn to summer, and summer turn to autumn, we see seasons come and go in our lives.

Psalm 126 describes seasons of laughter as well as seasons of mourning. See if you can identify with the season of laughter:

It was like a dream come true when you freed us from our bondage and brought us back to Zion! We laughed and laughed and overflowed with gladness. All the nations saw it and joined in, saying, “The Lord has done great miracles for them!” Yes, he did mighty miracles and we are overjoyed!

I hope you’ve had many times of joy. Perhaps a wedding, the birth of a child, deliverance from illness, a new job, or a long-awaited vacation. I hope you’re in a season of laughter right now.

But, if not, check out Psalm 126:4:

Now, Lord, do it again! Restore us to our former glory! May streams of your refreshing flow over us until our dry hearts are drenched again.

Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, tells us there is a season for every activity under heaven. It says there is a season for crying and grieving, but thank God there is also a season for laughter and dancing. Seasons come and go. They aren’t forever—they’re for a certain time. As one season ends, a new one begins. Psalm 126:5-6 says:

Those who sow their tears as seeds will reap a harvest with joyful shouts of glee. They may weep as they go out carrying their seed to sow, but they will return with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness as they bring back armloads of blessing and a harvest overflowing.

Friend, if you’re in a difficult season now, lift up your head and look to your Father. This season will pass. Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). A season of tears gives way to a season of laughter. A season of grief turns to a season of dancing. God has an overflowing harvest of blessing planned for your life. Be confident—God hasn’t forsaken you. He will walk with you through this season and bring you triumphantly into the next.

Dear God, strengthen my faith. Help me believe you are in control, both in seasons of laughter and seasons of tears. You are God in the storm as well as the calm. Remind me that I’m in a season and that seasons change. I lean on you for strength, guidance, and peace. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Categories
Handling Life's Problems

Before, During, and After

“The end of a thing is better than its beginning…” (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

So many seasons of life can be divided into “before,” “during,” and “after.” We can point out the time before we lost the job, the uncertain time during the job hunting, and the time after starting the new job. A mountain climber has the before time of preparation, the during when they need every ounce of their skill and strength for the climb, and the after, when they stand top of the mountain and enjoy the breathtaking, panoramic view.

The before is comfortable. It’s familiar. It’s easy. The during can be challenging, confusing, scary, and painful. But, ahh—the after! That’s the exciting part when we see how the before and during led us to the place we needed to be.

Jesus’s life on earth had a before, during, and after. The before was amazing. His three years of ministry were filled with miracles, healings, victories over demons, and throngs of followers. On what we now call Palm Sunday, he entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, to the acclaim of the crowds, who called out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9).

Less than a week later, the during began. Jesus was betrayed by one of those closest to him. The adoring crowds disappeared. He was arrested, beaten, tormented, and mocked. He was falsely accused and unlawfully sentenced to die. Jesus was actually forced to carry the cross upon which he was murdered.

The during was frightening and painful, torturous beyond imagination. But the during wasn’t the end of the story.

We know what happened after the crucifixion. The power of God was manifested by raising Jesus from the dead. Our salvation was procured. The bondage of sin and death was broken.

Hebrews 12:2 says, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God.” We are to emulate Jesus, to keep watching what he did and do the same. He endured the cross because he knew the joy that would come after.

We’ve probably heard people say, “It didn’t come to stay, it came to pass.” The during doesn’t come to stay. It will pass. The struggle is for a season. During that season, we learn, we grow stronger, and we gain a testimony to share with the world about the faithfulness and goodness of God. The end is better than the beginning. If it isn’t better, it isn’t over.

Dear God, I know you’re the God of every season of my life, the good times as well as the bad times. When I’m walking through a challenging time, give me faith to follow your plan and peace during the struggle. You’ve promised to never leave me alone. Whether I’m in an enduring season or enjoying the ease of the “after,” let me always be aware of your presence, your protection, and your peace. In Jesus’s name, amen.