A Word About Seasons
by Pastor George Van Alstine
Yesterday, January 17, the temperature in Pasadena went up to 84°, which is just 5° short of the record for that date. Meanwhile, Minneapolis residents knocked icicles off of their noses in temperatures just above 0°. Rains in Seattle were unusually heavy for that area, but this seemed to be a dry spell compared to the devastating rains people have been enduring in Brazil and Australia. Everybody’s talking about “unseasonal” weather patterns, blaming global warming, Taliban plots or political conspiracies.
The idea of “seasons” in which certain things are expected to happen and others not is built into our harmonious interaction with the phenomena of Nature that govern our lives. When weather occurs “out of season,” our own lives seem to be disrupted and confused.
A few years back, the book The Seasons of a Man’s Life (Daniel J. Levinson, 1978) became a best seller. The idea that a person goes through life stages, in which certain experiences are typical and the person’s emotional responses can be logically understood and predicted, helped many people find new insights about their own struggles.
A famous Biblical passage expands on the predictable patterns of human life:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to harvest;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
When things happen in life that seem out of phase, we notice and often remark on it: We may say that a child “was born 1,000 years old” or “is wise beyond her years.” Or we may observe that an adult is going through a “second childhood” or that a basketball player “cries like a baby” after missing what could have been the winning shot. These occurrences seem a little strange and “out of season” to us.
However, we should be more open to these surprises. Why not have a hot day in January, or a cold spell in August? Why not be open to a precocious youngster discovering a key insight to the human genetic code? Or a teenager experiencing power in believing prayer? Or a middle-aged woman figuring out how to use Facebook more effectively? Or an old man writing a beautiful love poem? So what if they seem “out of season”?
There’s one treasure every believer has, whether young or old, and there is no wrong time to share it with others. During a period marked by persecution and false teaching, the Apostle Paul wrote to his younger friend Timothy: Proclaim the message; be persistent in season and out of season. (2 Timothy 4:2)
Spring, summer, fall or winter; in childhood, youth, middle-age and retirement years; morning, noon or night; at work, at home, at play—when you sense longing, hunger and dissatisfaction in another person, share the Good News about God’s love and forgiveness! It’s always open season for God’s salvation.