To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer and day and night shall not cease.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Life is full of seasons and changes.
God tells us in the Bible that seasons and cycles of change are not only a part of life, they are in fact ordained by Him. We are instructed to watch and pay attention; to have a mindset of preparedness.
This mindset of preparation is critical to being a good steward of the opportunities and resources God has given us.
Some of these changes go unnoticed and take place with minimal impact. Many are cyclic in nature, such as the seasons; summer, fall, winter and spring. With each changing season comes a unique set of preparations. For instance, in the winter we prepare for an inbound snow storm by having a shovel handy, rock salt to prevent icy walkways, and maybe some extra supplies just in case.
With the technological advancements in modern weather forecasting, we are able to predict and plan for inclement weather with a high degree of accuracy.
It is not uncommon to know, over a week in advance, of a weather pattern that will cause disruptions and issues.
The primary purpose of these weather forecasts is to provide situational awareness in order to properly plan.
Even for the events that are highly unpredictable, such as an earthquake or tornado, there are still after action plans in place in order to affectively and swiftly remediate any damage and minimize loss of life.
Planning and preparation is such a critical component, that in those locations where such events take place with frequency, there is pre-planning conducted in the building of homes and critical infrastructure.
Failing to plan results in a lack of preparation. A lack of preparation results in panic; panic results in poor judgement; poor judgement results in bad decisions.
Just as there are routine and rhythmic changes which affect us all, sometimes there are seasons and changes which completely alter the course of our lives and bring with them deep sadness, grief and sorrow.
How firmly we are established in our walk with the Lord, will determine our level of preparation for the life altering seasons and course changes that take place.
A preparation mindset is more sensitive to healing, growth and the doors of opportunity that God want us to step into in order to fulfill our divine calling and purpose. I will go into this further in follow-on blog posts, but today I want to discuss how we are prepared for the trials and tribulations of life that are in themselves seasonal changes.
Partnered with preparation is the key element of trust. God wants us to prepare and be good stewards, but He also wants us to trust that He is both ultimately in control and that He has our best interest in all that He does.
A real and solid trust in our eternal and sovereign God, through Jesus Christ, is what ultimately prepares us for when the most catastrophic events happen.
When my oldest daughter Elizabeth took her own life in 2015, my family and I were thrown into a trial by fire that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
Our foundation of faith was tried and tested in a manner almost beyond words. The heartbreak, anguish and turmoil felt over losing a child resonates still. The manner in how we lost her stings even more.
Since that fateful day, I’ve slowly begun to realize that faith and trust in our Heavenly Father and in His Word has been my compass and strong vessel, in spite of the howling winds and raging seas of grief.
For me, the preparation was and continues to be, established through meditation and congregation: mediation on God’s Word and congregation with His people.
By meditation on God’s Word, I mean spending time reading the Bible and filling my mind with praise and truth; songs and sermons that speak life and hope into my soul.
By congregation with His people, I mean often and routine fellowship with other Believers who will encourage, speak life and help carry the burden.
For our family the loss of Elizabeth was life altering. My wife, youngest daughter and I were sent on a course change that has redefined every day since then.
Like my own family, many others have also experienced tragic and life altering changes; seasons in which the cold winter of sorrow and loss seem to drive relentlessly into the depths of the heart and mind.
It is during these seasons and harsh climate changes that we are reminded by Jesus, that He already overcame and in Him rests the final victory. Jesus is the safe harbor and respite against the tempests and storms.
The sure and guaranteed preparation for the trials and storms of life are found in only place; a real and active relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
There are no promises that storms will not happen. In fact, quite the opposite.
What is promised, is that no matter what happens, Jesus already overcame and won; and because we are in Him, we have hope and assurance that in spite of how circumstances look around us, we have been prepared.
We are prepared because our roots of faith go deep and we have a hope and trust in an all-powerful, all-loving and all-knowing God that has sealed us in His perfect plan.