“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
If we continually rest upon the divine counsel of God’s infinite wisdom, our lives can reflect the simplicity of this statement from Ecclesiastes. However, our lives will become maddeningly complex if we choose to ignore the instructions God has for us regarding specific seasons.
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
In our minds, we can be in springtime when God has us firmly in a winter season.
“There is…a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” Ecclesiastes 3:2
Generally speaking, we as human beings don’t like change. In fact, we can enjoy comfort to the point that we’ll delay a season of change (even if it’s good) just to keep everything constant and predictable. Some of us are creatures of habit, and some of us really do like controlling our own lives. Then, when God instructs us to do something we don’t want to do, our feathers get ruffled. But remember that life is about change.
If you’re not constantly changing, you’re also not growing. Entering (and exiting) seasons of change is healthy!
When God leads us into a new season, He often alters our present-day circumstances.
- Have you lost the enthusiasm or passion about the work you once felt called to do? God may be moving you into a new season of rest or into a new career.
- Are you experiencing immense pressure about your current dating relationship? God may be moving you forward into a new season of commitment (such as an engagement), or the relationship may need to come to an end.
- Do you have an awkward tension towards any situation (a friendship, living arrangement, or financial plan) in your life that seems bizarre? You may be standing still in a season that God wants you to move past.
How can you know the time to move on?
Even after following Jesus for many years, listening for His prompting to move on can be difficult. Allow me to share a few personal examples with you:
1. In a recent season of my life, the Lord had impressed me to pray with a specific individual. Our time was undoubtedly fruitful, and meeting bright and early each Friday morning to sit with the Lord was a real joy. But over time, my spirit became more burdened than joyful, and the Lord graciously related that this season had come to an end. Even if the Lord gives you a task that produces great fruit in one season, He may not have you continue indefinitely. Seek the Lord, and He’ll be faithful to include you on the timing of events.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
2. While I was serving as a missionary with limited funds, the Lord provided a beautiful place for me to live. After praying about it, my roommate and I agreed that I would stay there for a specific time (a few months). Once these initial months passed, we had both became comfortable with our living arrangement. On our own, we decided that I could stay for a bit longer (I still needed a place to live and she needed the income). Shortly thereafter, tension arose between us, and each of our boundaries were slowly encroached upon. At this point, I knew that something was definitely wrong, and God faithfully informed me that His purpose had been fulfilled and it was time to move on.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;call on him while he is near.Let the wicked forsake their waysand the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7
3. Finally, as a writer today, the Lord has me stepping into some very unfamiliar territory. He has given me a bucket full of BIG dreams, but I also only have a very limited amount of time. Therefore, I have had to choose my time wisely and bid farewell to some old activities (that have been fruitful in the past) to make room for the new items He has for me (that will produce the bountiful harvest He has planted in my life).
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2
Pruning can be a tough process, and it’s easier for us to remain where we feel most comfortable. But as His beloved, we must move on and we must move forward.
“…a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:3-8
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