I love the changes of the seasons that pass by each and every year. They come in a constant, rhythmic cycle, and yet we never really know when to expect them to start and finish. It is different year to year as it brings changing weather and vegetation. But sometimes I also hate the seasons: those dreary winter day where you just want to drink hot cocoa and sit by a fire endlessly, humid summer days where you melt walking from the door to the mailbox and back and constantly crave ice-cream or freezing cold water, windy fall days when you cannot walk or carry anything through the breeze blowing leaves into your face or knocking you left to right, or endless rainy days in spring where you just ache to see the sunshine.
It is so clear to me that God gave us the seasons to teach us about faith. The seasons of our years directly correlate to the seasons of our faith, and give us the opportunity to learn from them, even when we cannot predict what will be coming next or when the current season will end. The seasons teach us how to wait, how to be patient, how to pray, how to yearn for even a glimpse of the God we long for.
Days go by and life flashes forward and we still don’t learn those lessons. In August I will be 21 and I am looking back wondering, “Where did the years go?” And as I look back, I see how constant my seasons of faith have been from low to high, high to low, and back again. And I am wondering how I am still learning the same lessons God tried to teach me time and time again: trust, wait, pray, hope, believe, trust, long, confess, die, change, repent, patience, devotion, faithfulness, believe, glorify.
This spring was a semester of learning, embracing, pouring in, taking in, discovering…I never expected to be jobless for a couple of months and have so much time to dive into the word, sermons, worship songs, prayer with my roommates, and time in Bible studies and at church. I never expected how much God would pour into my heart and head in such a short time and how much he would change my vision and passion for my life and for this world. And from there he would provide a job and a solid group of unbelievers for me to minister to, and then countless hours of witnessing and pouring out. Quickly I found myself: tired, weary, worn down, exhausted, thirsty, hungry, broken, needy. But in his faithfulness God brought me through, and sure enough, he made beautiful things out of that season of weariness and brokenness. He eternally healed lives and reminded me of his sovereignty.
With the heat of summer and the humidity of the air has come a season leaving me dry and thirsty. For two months the Lord poured so much knowledge and insight into my head, and within weeks he began trying to work that knowledge and insight into my heart, into wisdom. As I look back I see where I failed, I see where I missed his whispers, where I wasn’t even listening and my eyes weren’t even open. I missed his presence. I missed his gentle nudging and correction.
Now I feel the weight of those sins. I feel the weight of my utter depravity and complete hopelessness.
I feel the weight of sin.
And I am lonely.
I ache to feel him again, to feel his presence. I know my failures have separated me once again from experiencing him. He cannot dwell beside my sin, he will not live with my unrighteousness, and so he has left. He has turned his back. And I feel the weight of my sins. And I am lonely.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
He will not cast me off forever, and he will not utterly forsake me. But he will wait, in his patience and perfection, until I realize this lesson once again. Until I see the real meaning of GRACE:
divine love and protection bestowed freely on people. kindness
service being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.
an excellence or power granted by God.
an unmerited gift
undeserved compassion mercy
Grace is the core of the Gospel. How can I spend so much time learning about the Gospel and what it means and how to share it and forget grace? I am so thankful for this season of realizing my sin and feeling the distance it has made between God and I through my loneliness. I am so thankful for time to sit and think about grace and remember what it means and how I am absolutely nothing apart from it. I am depraved, wicked, empty, hopeless, useless. I am nothing apart from grace.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
…and such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
"I do not at all understand the mystery of grace-
only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where if found us."