I trust your holiday season has been one filled with many pleasurable and treasure-able experiences. If your holiday season has been hindered by tragedy or less-than-ideal experiences or memories, I pray that the Father has rushed, and will to continue to rush, to your aid, bringing healing with each passing day. Let's believe for greater in 2017! Let's believe for Christ's return in 2017!
I am so honored that you've joined us each week this month for our Savor Your Season series. If you haven't had a chance to read each entry with a busy holiday schedule, take a few moments and catch up! We are focusing our study on Ecclesiastes 3. Refresh your memory and I'll wait right here...
Throughout this series I have challenged you to, first, savor your season, realizing that things won't always be the way that they are right now. Regardless of the nature of your current season, there is something to be savored, and then, a responsibility on your part to both serve in your season and require your season to serve you! There must be a purpose in all this, right? Yes! There is! And God will reveal it to you through your determination to serve right where you are. Last week, the goal became to surrender your season. Perhaps you, like I have on many occasions, find yourself kicking against this season, despite the fact that you may believe God has ordered this season for you right now. Surrender is the only way to push forward and absorb all that is about you.
#4/Salvage your season.
It’s entirely possible and even likely that today your season feels like disaster and catastrophe. Like those natural seasons have collided and devastation is all around you. This may be, like I've mentioned before, of your own accord—consequences for decisions you made either knowingly in rebellion, or unknowingly, before you knew better or knew Christ.
Your season may be the consequences of someone else’s choices or actions. You may feel like David—playing to soothe Saul--and Saul’s hurling javelins at him! Today, however, some of you may be walking through a gruesome season that is simply just the result of tragedy, the untimely death of a loved one, or the unfortunately natural course of this fallen world.
What I love about this passage in Ecclesiastes 3 is that he walks us through every season or time in the life he had experienced thus far and not all of those seasons were beautiful. But the promise is there because God was invested. “HE has made everything beautiful in its time.”
...the promise is there because God was invested.
Then Solomon goes on and says “I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it IS the gift of God.”
Because of the brutality of Christ’s sacrifice, all things can be made beautiful in their time. Isaiah prophesied of Jesus in chapter 61 of his book, verses 1-7:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the Lord (or God) has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (the year of JUBILEE!), and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess DOUBLE; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.”
Savor, Serve, Surrender, Salvage
As we approach changing seasons in the natural, we do things to prepare for them. For example, we have the air conditioning unit serviced for the summer, the heater for the winter, etc. Usually I have the “urge to purge” my closets and freshen things up around the house after the holidays. Once we bring home the many gifts of friends and family, our home (and especially our girls' bedrooms and closets!) are too compact with old belongings and new treasures. Something has to go!
In your current season and in preparation for the season that God has for you next, what are you feeling the “urge to purge” from your life? If you have a series of plantings in your front yard and they come up annually, you do right by them to prune them seasonally, right? To remove the dead blossoms or leaves, trim them back, keep them healthy. Why? They will probably bloom each year regardless. But they will not bloom to their full potential, their capacity of beauty, if they are not pruned properly.
Our youngest daughter, Libbie, is seven years old. I don't have to help her nearly as much these days when it's time to get dressed. But as a toddler and preschooler, she was always on the move and wouldn't stand but two feet from me when I was trying to dry her from the bath, dress her or fix her hair. I found myself repeatedly, by default, saying, “Libbie Camille, if you’ll come closer to me, I can help you!”
As I was pondering these thoughts, that memory came to me, perhaps by the Spirit. Jesus calls to us often, no matter what season we find ourselves in, and says, “If you’ll come closer to Me, I can help you!” Let’s draw closer to Him today and allow Him to tend to the fruit of His Spirit in our lives.
“If you’ll come closer to Me, I can help you!”