Some Seasons of Your Life Are Going to be More Beautiful Than Others: Each Season Will Have its Unique Charms.
Life has its seasons, doesn’t it? I’m not talking about the four seasons that escort us through the year. I’m talking about seasons of life. We all experience them. Some are joyful, others sad. Some pass way too quickly and others seem to drag on forever, like a Texas summer.
My favorite season of the year is Autumn. The colors, the activities, holidays and foods are all favorites. The changing of the seasons varies widely depending on your location. Where I live, Autumn typically lasts about ten minutes. That’s only a slight exaggeration. Our summers seem to go on forever, but Fall is short and sweet. Perhaps knowing that it will be brief is why I enjoy it so much. It’s short-lived, and that makes it special.
As season’s of life go, I really enjoyed the courtship with my husband, which was also a short season. Who doesn’t love a period of being wooed and everything that is included? (letters, flowers, getting to know another person deeply, being favored above all others, etc). I’ve often mused that I would drag that season out a bit if we could do it all over.
Having a baby in the house was another season that went way too quickly. What a sweet season! I cherished the cuddles, bath time, patty cake, sticky kisses, kissing boo boos, dressing a little body that’s in constant motion, rocking. At the time you’re living it, lack of sleep and exhaustion make you long to move on to the next stage, but when that season is past, you often wish it back. (Especially when those babes become teens!) The raising adolescents to adulthood stage, this season seems eternal on a day by day basis. But when you look back on, it seems that the years FLEW by. Just ask any recent ‘empty nester’.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could say that your favorite season is the one you’re in right now? No matter what that season happens to be?
There are some very rough, very un-fun seasons.
Have you ever been mired in a long season of unanswered prayer? It can get really stormy. Have you had a period where you go to God for the same person or situation so often that you have several versions of that prayer memorized? When you lift your eyes and say, “You KNOW what I’m going to say, God. You know my heart is consumed with this. When will you answer? Please hear my prayer and answer me! I beg you!”
Have you ever found yourself getting angry with God because it seems he isn’t listening? Or worse, it seems he may be listening but just doesn’t care? I’ve been there. I have never struggled spiritually as I did in a season of prayer that dragged on for eight and a half years. Eight and a half years is a very long season. For a long time I struggled and somewhere along the way, I have no idea at what point, but somewhere along the way I gave up. I’m not proud of that. I share it only to offer some hope to those who may be on the verge of giving up on God. Hang in there. Let me offer you hope.
God loves us even after we’ve given up.
After eight years of praying and hearing nothing but silence, I had given up. I became paralyzed by depression, physical, emotional and spiritual depression. I no longer prayed. I didn’t do much of anything. What was the point? Those days were so dark and awful! I remember that I physically ached. If I made it from the bed to the sofa, that was a victory! If I somehow managed to get the top rack of the dishwasher loaded (let alone run and cleaned), that was a good day. I’m talking about depression so deep that I no longer took care of myself. Getting up to take a shower and putting on clean clothes was beyond me. I quit seeing friends and even avoided family. It seemed like every time I turned around, another friend or family member was pregnant. I was happy for them, but it just made my reality darker.
And prayer? Forget it. If God didn’t seem to care, why should I? For over eight years I had asked God for something he clearly blesses, family. What was so wrong with me that I shouldn’t be a mother? I had watched him bless couples with children who were (in my opinion) in no way ready to be responsible for another life. It was a dark, ugly season. So I hid.
As unbelievable as it sounds, I did not recognize that I was depressed at the time. People weren’t as open about depression in those days. I was just dealing with ‘my reality’. That insight that I had experienced clinical depression came years later when I was trying to help a friend who was suffering. At the time it was happening, I just thought that for whatever reason, God no longer listened to me. So I shut up. I gave up on him. But he NEVER gave up on me.
I was the paralyzed man in Luke chapter 5.
I had stopped praying, but a few loyal friends and my precious mother and father continued to pray. Tenaciously, these faith-filled few, in a very real sense, took me on a pallet, tore open the roof of heaven and put me at the feet of the Healer. God heard THEIR prayers. God answered…in his time. He heard the prayers of my heart from years past. He heard the prayers of my pallet-bearers. And he answered.
The blessings, when they finally came, came so quickly that it all seems a blur now. And the pain of that long, torturous season I now embrace as a season of blessing. It seemed unbearably hard at the time. But God, who is rich in mercy, gave me time to learn lessons in that season that I never would have learned otherwise. In many ways, it made me who I am.
Let me offer hope to you.
Let me assure you that God does hear you. He sees you. He loves you. And his timing is best, even if you can’t see it. He longs to be merciful and to give ALL of his children good gifts. If you’re even close to losing hope, I get that. I’ve been there. You need to act quickly and ask two or three trusted friends to pray for you. Share the story of the paralyzed man and ask them to be your pallet-bearers. Believe that God will answer in his time and with what is best for you. Keep your eyes open. Write Romans 12:12 down and post it where you will see it often, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Peter was an apostle of Christ who struggled with patience. The Bible records several incidents where his rushing and pushing make him someone I can relate to. In his later years, as a man who had walked with Christ and had seen God’s power, he wrote these inspired words. Let them encourage you to take heart and to wait patiently.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you…”
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