Faith sufficient for all seasons of life

Voices of Religion

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2005

Poets and preachers have long pointed out the similarities between the seasons of the year and the seasons of 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 an anchor when waves were high and the assurance that a safe harbor awaited after life’s storms.

Answering the knock on our door one day, I faced a grieving father and mother of a young sailor.

“All of our castles have tumbled,” said the father, explaining 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. They had no doubts about their son’s relationship to his Lord and this enabled them to be comforted 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, they found their faith in God sufficient to keep them from despair.

While out of work, they volunteered for a short-term mission in the South Pacific, assisting missionaries and reaching out to 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. His children died, he lost his money and property, his health deteriorated and his wife suggested he turn against God and die, Job 2:9.

Even during this season of trouble, however, Job’s faith enabled him to stay true to God and comfort his wife, reminding her that our responsibility to be faithful is unchanged by difficult circumstances, Job 2:10.

In what season do you find yourself?

Do you wonder if God cares?

Martin Luther once felt as you do today. Then he heard a bird singing its evening song. As he watched, he saw the bird tuck its head under a wing and go to sleep.

In writing of this experience, Luther said he concluded:

“This little bird has had its supper and is now getting ready to go to sleep, quite content, never troubling itself as to what its food will be or where it will lodge on the morrow. Like David, it abides under the shadow of the almighty. It sits on its little twig content and lets God care.”

He was a December man — in his nineties — and his thoughts turned to the subject of heaven.

“The days are getting brighter all the time,” he said.

His faith had been active so long, he knew it was sufficient for all seasons — even the final one.

Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich. He was a pastor for 22 years and has been a guest speaker in Alaska churches from Anchorage to Homer.

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