Poets and preachers have long pointed out the similarities between the seasons of the year and life. In effect, we're all born in January and immediately start heading toward December. Along the way, we're initiated into life's realities by the cold winds of winter, welcomed by the striking colors and flowery fragrances of spring, warmed by the pleasant breezes of summer, made thoughtful by the breathtaking beauty of our sentimental journey through fall and finally, in December, belatedly find ourselves beginning to think seriously about eternity.
We're also affected by the seasons of the soul. An old hymn said, "Sometimes I'm up; sometimes I'm down, but all the time I'm heaven bound." The composer, like most of us, had evidently known both valleys and mountaintops during his journey but had wisely concluded these ups and downs of life had no bearing on the ultimate outcome. Faith provided him a strong anchor when waves were high and assurance that a safe harbor waited after life's storms.
Answering the knock on our door, I faced a grieving father and mother of a young sailor. "All of our castles have tumbled," said the father, explaining that their son had been swept overboard while standing fog watch in the north Atlantic and wasn't found. My responsibility was to comfort them; to give them hope; a seemingly impossible task but their faith rose to the occasion. These brokenhearted parents were confident about their son's relationship to his Lord and this gave them strength in their season of sorrow.
Friends of ours experienced severe financial reverses. Their formerly thriving business was closed and they lost their home. In spite of these tough trials, however, they found strength through their faith in God to keep them from despair. While out of work, they volunteered for missionary work in the South Pacific, reaching out to needy people with the message of God's love.
Job had been the wealthy father of seven sons and three daughters. Everything seemed to be going his way. Then trouble came in like a flood. His children died. He lost his wealth and health. His formerly faithful wife became so depressed that she urged him to turn against God and die (Job 2:9). Even during this season of trouble, however, Job's faith remained strong, enabling him to comfort his grieving wife by telling her this melancholy mood was out of character, proving his love for her was unchanged.
In what season do you find yourself? Are you so down that you wonder if God cares?
My conversation with a December man (in his nineties) turned to the subject of heaven. "The days are getting brighter all the time" he said. His faith had been active for so long that he knew it would be sufficient for all seasonseven the final one.
Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich. He has written more than 20 books and been published in major Christian magazines. He was a pastor for 22 years.
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