Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #113

#113 "Seasoned"
September 18, 2007
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"  "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God." (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 11-13)
I'm writing this on my backyard patio today. The air is a little cool but the sun is shining and it's an awesome day. It's not quite fall yet, but it really is beginning to feel like it. That's the thing that I love about Michigan. We experience the warm summer sun on our faces. We see the newness of spring flowers budding and birds returning to their nests. We savor the taste of fresh apple cider and warm donuts amidst the falling leaves in autumn. We also brace ourselves each year for the harshness of winter. 
I haven't been out here much this summer. I regret that because I feel closest to God when I am experiencing His creation. I've always been the kind that even with the noise of traffic, has been able to pick out the bird singing in the yard and hear the wind blowing softly through the trees. Maybe it comes from being a mother of four and perfecting the art of tuning out the noise. But as I look across the landscape and see the early afternoon sun streaming through the trees, I can recall life in this backyard over the years. Memories of birthday celebrations and graduation parties. Fathers Day when we were all waiting to eat our meal and Chuck put his new grill together backwards. It had to be taken apart and put back together again before we could eat. What a hoot! My oldest daughter's wedding shower. I also remember being out here and having heart to heart discussions with Chuck, one of which was especially painful because the situation was threatening our marriage. This yard is full of memories. Memories of the seasons of life.
There is a song in the musical "Rent", called "The Seasons of Life". It has never been a particular favorite of mine because it's been sung ad nauseum in so many school choir concerts that I've attended over the years. But the words to the song resonate with me today. The lyrics ask us about how we measure our lives. "In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights. In cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. Seasons of love. Journeys to plan. In truths that are learned. In times that we cry. In bridges we burn or in how people died." It tells us to "remember the love, a gift from above. Measure your life in love." As it is in the natural realm, so it is in the spiritual realm. As surely as the seasons change, we experience seasons in our own lives.
Wise Solomon wrote about the seasons of life as well. He tells us that there is "a time for everything". The word "time" is "zeman" in the Hebrew language and it means a season. In Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, he reveals to us that all of life, including human activity is part of a determined cycle. Everything in nature and in human life is under a set scheme. There is a season and a time for all that takes place under the sun. He speaks of fourteen polar opposite situations that are all a part of life. Births and deaths. War and peace. Feelings of gladness and things that cause us to mourn. Things that are lost and things that are found. In summary, the seasons of life.
A season is a time characterized by a particular circumstance or feature. It is an appointed period and a predetermined occurence. Solomon clears our vision toward the total sweep of life. Our limited human minds can never solve all of the seeming paradoxes of life. God has given man reasoning power, but He has not given him enough to unravel all of the mysteries of life. But in verse 11, he does assure us that God "has made everything beautiful in its time." And it is all beautiful and appropriate and proper even though we "cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
Am I sensing a nod of the head from you? You're thinking, "Man...that's me. I can't fathom what God is doing in my life. It just doesn't make sense." Or maybe you're experiencing the first breath of spring and the lazy days of summer, but you sure can remember the chill of the harsh winter winds blowing across the landscape of your days. Can I tell you something? Each season is common to man! We've all been there. We've all experienced each season many times in our lives. And as sure as the seasons change in the natural...they will keep changing in the spiritual and in our lives on planet Earth until the Lord calls us home.
But let's look at the other meaning of the word "season", the verb form. To season something means "to give it more flavor or zest by adding something to it". We "season" wood or a skillet so as to "prepare it for use." Wow! I don't know if that hits you the way it hits me, but seasoning has its purpose. Dare I say that we go through "seasons" in order to be "seasoned"! The things that we go through in life are adding something to us. And they are preparing us for use...the Master's use!
I have personally come out of a very hard season in my life. Though in the natural it was spring and summer, there were days of winter that lasted longer than I ever would have agreed to in my flesh. But I know that my Master is continually preparing me for His use. And I so want to be used by Him for His glory. So I endure those seasons. My prayer is that I won't just endure them, but that I will endure them well! Is that your prayer? You may be feeling the cold, harsh winter in your soul right now. Things in your life may be dying like the autumn leaves. But just as spring always follows winter, you will see the buds of new life appear. You will hear the birds singing their songs to one another, smell the fresh air and feel the sunshine on your face once again.
Solomon sums it all up for us by saying, "I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good (enjoy themselves) while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God."  After searching for contentment and happiness in every possible way, he sums up the whole matter for us in the concluding verses of Ecclesiastes. Look with me..."Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." (Eccl. 12:13) What I believe he's saying is that we should enjoy our lot in life in the fear of God. Apart from that life is meaningless. Be content to leave the enigmas of life in God's hands. Serve Him acceptably and enjoy life as He enables. In whatever season you're in.
Psalm 104: 19, says that "the moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down." Logic would tell us that if God has the moon in His capable hands marking off the seasons, that His hands are just as capable in marking off the seasons of your life. Remember, just as it is in the natural, it is in the spiritual. If you're enjoying spring and summer right now in your life, don't be deceived into thinking that it will last forever. Drink deeply from the Living Water of Christ Jesus today, so that you'll be prepared when the winter season comes. And it will. And to you who are enduring the icy winds of winter, remember that you're being seasoned. When the season changes, and it will, you will be prepared for the Master's use. And I suspect that you wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Donna Schultz
If you would prefer to not receive these e-mails, please let
us know at tuesdays@livingthewordministries.org.
 Feel free to forward them as the
Lord leads you and if others would like to receive them, e-
tuesdays@livingthewordministries.org to be added to the list.
If you are viewing this on Blogger.com and would like to receive "Tuesday's with Jesus" in your e-mail box each Tuesday, please e-mail tuesdays@livingthewordministries.org and you will be added to the list.

No comments:

Post a Comment