Difficult Seasons

Have you ever found yourself in a difficult season? Everything seems to be going well that you’re not really thinking about it. Your garden is flowering and fruiting. Your harvest may even be abundant. Maintenance is low. Life, while not perfect, is treating you well.

Slowly temperatures start dropping. It’s so gradual you may not notice. Or maybe a cold front comes out of nowhere. Leaves start dropping. Trees are barren. Suddenly you find yourself in the dead of winter.

Your department at work has been “made redundant” and you have no idea how the bills will be paid. Illness has touched someone you love. A crisis occurs that you were not prepared for.

External environmental conditions beyond our control are taking hold of our lives and doing what they will. The season has changed, and it is difficult. Life is tough.

And as we watch the changes unfold before our eyes, the pressure reminds us we are not just observers. We, too, must change.

The choice is ours how we change. We can acquire worry, bitterness, blame, and hate – unproductive, but understandable, reactions to our environment.

Or we can acquire resilience, perseverance, prayer, and compassion for those experiencing their own difficult seasons.

Have you ever noticed how certain varieties of trees and shrubs change during winter?  They’re a collection of unattractive and sparse twigs. They look dead, but they are not. They’re dormant. They have changed to withstand the harshest season life has to throw at them.

When plants go dormant they adapt. Carbohydrates are stored in the roots during winter. The visible growth stops. The blessings of vegetation and fruit is no longer seen. All looks lost. But beyond what you and I can see, the roots are still growing with the soil warm enough. And when the difficult season is over, what has been stored inside them is then used to jump-start the plant with enough energy to begin spring growth. Only after this occurs does photosynthesis begin.

It appears the plant changes in such a way that it’s actually able to leverage the hard times to push it back into a new season of life. The plant could not change the season, but had it not changed itself, the season would have overtaken it.

Do not lose heart during difficult seasons. Our spring will come again, and with it the renewal we hope for. The affliction won’t last forever. If our Creator designed plants to withstand hard times, how much more has He designed us to withstand?

“For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..” ~ Ecclesiastes 3

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