Summer has come to an end. For people here in Canada, that statement signifies more than just a drop in temperatures. We say our goodbyes to longer days of sunshine, bright summer flip-flops and backyard-barbeque burgers. It’s time to go back to school, unpack sweaters and scarves, strap up our boots and brace ourselves to brave the cold. Growing up in the Middle-East and Kerala, where seasons only go from hot to hotter to hottest, summers were never embraced like they are here; however, one Canadian winter can turn anyone into a sunshine lover!
Having said that, there is immense beauty and wonder here, as land and life around you change to adapt for the coming season. Once full-bloomed trees slowly turn to golden hues before they lay bare, only to hold lumps of snow; birds fly back to warmer lands and once-green gardens turn to landscapes of ice.
The last few weeks, I have been reflecting on the seasons of life I have been through. I’ve been through more changes over the last 5 years of my life than the rest of my life put together. Each season of change has been different. Some of the seasons were warm, fun and exciting -- marriage, travelling, being an aunt and all the other good stuff. But a lot of it has been cold, bitter and challenging.
No one knew better about the seasons of life than King Solomon. He wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Eccles 3:1, 4) .
Many scholars claim King Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes towards the end of his reign, reflecting on his days as King. No other King had the kind of power, wealth or success as King Solomon, along with his divinely-given, unparalleled wisdom. Yet even King Solomon himself had his days of “weeping and mourning”. We will all go through joyful and painful seasons -- times where we ask God, “Why is there suffering in this world?” or “When will this end?” and the perpetual “Why me?”
We have all been through it and if you haven't, you will. It's just a fact of life.
When my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer, 5 years back, I thought that season would never end. 40 rounds of chemo, 3 major surgeries, 2 months in the ICU and innumerable hospital visits -- I never thought I would know a season of joy. The moment the doctor told me of mom’s illness it was like somebody lodged a boulder in my heart and this is how I would feel now and forever more. I remember, during those initial days of mom’s illness, having to give myself a haircut because I just couldn’t leave the house. "This is my life now," I remember thinking to myself.
However, 5 years down the line, that is NOT mine or my mom's life. My mother is now a doting grandmother and I moved from being beside that hospital bed to finding the love of my life halfway across the world! We are definitely in our “summer” right now and basking in all it’s sunshine. We haven't forgotten our seasons of mourning and sorrow, instead we bring them to memory often in awe and wonder of how God used those seasons to break us, shape us, and use us for His glory.
Even as we go through this joyful time, we are well-aware this season may, or may not, be short-lived; but our confidence is that in the end of it all, not even death can keep us from the time where we will be with Him for eternity with no seasons of sorrow or mourning, but only rejoicing in a city shining with His own glory!
Each of you might be going through a different of season of life. For those of you going in your “winter” -- remember that this too shall pass.
"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning" (Psalm 30:5).
He is only preparing you for the next season of life -- a time of rejoicing!
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