December 10, 2007

“Our God for All Seasonsâ€?
by Pastor George Van Alstine

The past two days it’s really been cold in Southern California. I actually turned the heater on in my car this morning. As I tried to get my fingers moving, a memory came to me of one morning, not too long ago, when I got in the car to go to work and turned on the air-conditioning. On this nippy morning, it was hard to imagine that very recently it was blazing hot in our area, and all the talk was of Santa Ana wind-driven fires.

If you walk in the woods in the middle of the night, there seem to be scary shadows all over the place. Every tree seems to hide a potential enemy. Walk in the same woods the next day at noon, and the warm embrace of the sun is likely to make you feel totally safe and secure. It’s hard to believe that these graceful trees hid potential assassins the night before.

When you pay your rent and utilities and still have a bit left over, it’s hard to remember what it felt like a couple of months ago when the paycheck seemed miles short of covering the bills.

If you’ve just fallen in love, the feeling of loneliness that dominated you two days ago seems light years away. But when you see her with another guy, you feel twice as lonely as before.

When you see that new baby boy, there’s so much joy that nothing else in the world matters. But sixteen years later, when you discover drugs in his room, it feels as if he’s never meant anything but sorrow to you.

You may have had a great day—accomplished a lot at work, received good news from an out-of-town relative, looking forward to a quiet evening at home with your family. But you rolled through that stop sign, didn’t quite stop. And your heart sunk when you saw the flashing blue light behind you. Now the whole day’s ruined. You feel like a total failure.

Aren’t you glad your spiritual security doesn’t depend on your circumstances, whether or not things are going well? Aren’t you glad your salvation isn’t determined by your fickle feelings, up one moment and down the next? Aren’t you glad the old favorite hymn you sing isn’t “Great Is My Faithfulness?

The familiar passage from Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament reminds us that in our lives we will experience many ups and downs:

“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 pluck up what is planted; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.â€? (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4, 7-8)

The God of the Bible is there for us in every one of these “times.â€? He is the God of the good times and the God of the bad times. He is the God for all seasons.

And he’s always the same. We aren’t. We keep changing. Our thoughts and our feelings are all over the place, depending on our circumstances. But he is “the same yesterday and today and foreverâ€? (Hebrews 13:8).