Ever had someone quote you Ecclesiastes 3:1? If you are like me and may not recall scripture as well as the content, allow me to jog your memory: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every [a]purpose under heaven.” Now you got it? Good. Well, I literally held on to this for quite a while. Not understanding the why necessarily behind the season, but fast to the reality that God orders what He will, when He chooses. I was taught to remain faithful and hopeful during the season and accordingly, God would see me through. I have no dispute with this. God has shown himself mighty in every season I’ve endured. Perhaps what I failed to realize until I seasoned a bit more, (pardon the pun), was that seasons do not necessarily occur in isolation. It is possible for us to experience seasons concurrently, and ones that do not align or commingle. Might I suggest that Maze featuring Frankie Beverly said it best with the lyrics, “Joy and pain, sunshine and rain.” Nevertheless God is able to sustain us when we find ourselves experiencing duality as we navigate this thing called life.
We experienced our first snowstorm of the season in North Carolina over the weekend. I truly did not believe that it would be as bad as predicted, that is until I woke to find everything completely submerged in the thick white stuff. When I went outside to take a look around and immerse myself in the wonderment, I found the beautiful snow covered in leaves. Prior to the snowstorm, the trees across the street from our home were completely bare, while the ones on our side of the street had leaves, albeit brown. However, after the snowstorm, the brown leaves blew atop the snow. While outside, I marveleed at the juxtaposition. Here were brown leaves signaling the end of something, coupled with snow signaling a new beginning, untouched, unscathed, having just formed as a result of frozen droplets of water. We’ve all been there, a season when a relationship is exceptional, while a job may be challenging; or purchasing a new home, while helping a friend through a difficult medical diagnosis. Amidst feeling as though one is navigating two distinct seasons, there God is allowing you to share your strength with others, while sucking all strength available from God. Yet still, we expect God to continue the portions we enjoy and immediately cease the aspects we’d rather not experience. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Acts 1:7-8 reflects this sentiment: “He told them, You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” Plainly, through whatever season or the duality of seasons we find ourselves in, we are promised the Holy Spirit which comforts us when we find ourselves raking leaves and shoveling snow within 24 hours of each other, or even concurrently.
Jesus said it best, “If it be possible,” but “nevertheless.” This is an example of brown leaves and snow in the same breath. In many instances, we’d elect not to deal with what God presents, but He has not left us alone. The leaves reminded me that God is fully capable to see me through. The leaves reminded me that I’ve experienced harvest as a result of endurance. The leaves reminded me that it’s okay to shed something in preparation of newness to come. Through it all, the Holy Spirit is with us every step of the way. Seasons challenge us to be our most enlightened self, and as we transition through them, we have opportunity and responsibility to strengthen others along the journey. As opposed to rushing the process, might we take assurance in God’s ability to take care of what He created? His creation. Us. Snow. Leaves.