While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.Genesis 8:22
Seasons Are Varied
Back in October I had the privilege of being able to travel up to Virginia for a few weeks to visit with dear friends and to participate in a festival and a craft fair. Though it was fall by the calendar, unusually warm weather had delayed the changing of the leaves.
My journey in Virginia was both wonderful and prosperous; but as all good things do, it came to an end, and I turned my truck toward home. My southbound route took me through the Smoky Mountains, where I stopped overnight at an Airbnb up on one of those high hills. By then, the color was gorgeous, though it still was not quite at its peak. I tested the capacity of the SD card in my camera, taking hundreds of photos and far more time to reach Chattanooga than many folks would have thought reasonable. However, from there, with the camera safely restored to its bag, I set my sights on home.
As the roads led me across northern Georgia, down the length of Alabama, and finally into west Florida, I noticed a marked change in the scenery. With the increasing distance between me and my beloved mountains, there was also an increase in Green. Though shades of yellow and orange were still present, they were muted and sparse. I was back in the South, where the lines between the seasons are somewhat blurred. And that’s okay with me. This is home.
Seasons Are Sure
This past Sunday, as I drove to church, I rejoiced to see that the hues of God’s glorious sunrises and sunsets had made their way at last to the Florida trees. Everywhere I looked along the way, bright red leaves mingled with orange and yellow to fill the landscape with color. Oh, the evergreens are still here too, but just now they are carrying the harmony part.
I drove onto campus and circled the building amid a shower of falling oak leaves. I parked and walked toward the building on an amber carpet. The photo simply does not do the scene justice. If only we could have met outside for worship today! Fall has come to Northwest Florida, and just in time for Thanksgiving!
Seasons Are Necessary
We all have seasons, just like nature. And like nature, our seasons are not all on the same timetable, but they are certain just the same. They are certain, and they are necessary.
Youth is a time of learning, growing, and maturing. Then you transition into adulthood and take on new responsibilities while continuing to learn, grow, and mature. You begin a new cycle with the bearing of children even while you’re in your own season. The period we commonly call “middle age” approaches and brings its own particular set of changes. Then comes the day when the cashier asks if you want the senior discount. Before long your children are taking care of you the way you once took care of them. And then the day comes when friends and family gather to pay their last respects—only by then, you are not there anymore. The leaves lie on the ground, but the spirit has been released from the body to live forever in another place. The identity of your forever home depends upon choices you made while going through your seasons on the earth.
Change is hard. Most of us do not like change; we prefer the comfort of familiarity, the rhythm of routine. But seasons are change. One thing you can count on in this life is that nothing stays the same forever. Circumstances change. Cities change. Landscapes change. People change.
I thank God for change, even though I don’t always like it. I thank God for seasons—the seasons of nature that are ever changing the world around me, and the seasons of life that are ever changing who I am. Some are easier than others, but it’s the hardest seasons that yield the most precious fruit.
Above all, in the midst of all this change, I thank God that He never changes. He is constant, faithful, and trustworthy. He guides and sustains us through all our seasons, and He alone is worthy of praise.
For I am the LORD, I change not.Malachi 3:6
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.Hebrews 13:8
Photos taken in Pensacola, Florida, 2019