by guest writer Lucinda Smith
The air is colder, the clouds denser, the green leaves are subtly turning and the crisper, browner ones already lie crunchy beneath our feet. Autumn is slipping into winter, here in England. The seasons come and go, bringing a rhythm and a structure to the years – they tell of things past and those that are yet to come – sun and sand and dappled grass recede, exposing us once again to dark mornings and central heating, thick jumpers and hot chocolate.
Sometimes though, we find ourselves unexpectedly in a season of life that feels out of sync – as though the order has been reversed or harshly interrupted, without either our knowledge or permission. It jolts us and catches us unawares. This is where I find myself today. This is where many, across the world, find themselves, due to Covid-19. We have been thrown sideways, and are struggling to find our feet, again.
It’s always tempting to ask God, the ‘why?’ questions, but He seems seldom to answer those. When we find ourselves facing an unplanned turn of events, it’s better to ask the ‘what?’ or ‘how?’ questions. A new chapter, an enforced season of rest or of activity, a pandemic – what can this unforeseen situation teach me about who you are, Father God? How can I be more like Jesus in it?
Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) writes these wonderful words:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Our lives as well as the world of nature, are marked by seasons and cycles – birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age and death. When we are old we become childlike again – from dust we came, and to dust, we shall return. As Solomon says, nothing lasts forever, nothing is set in stone. Let’s choose to yield to God’s presence and leading, as we navigate the known and unknown, with Him.
The Lord of winter and spring, summer and autumn wants to be sought and found, in the changing and varied seasons of our fragile humanity. He is not shocked or surprised by what we didn’t see coming. His promise to us is always, ‘I will be with you’. Really, what more could we ask for?
Bio for Lucinda Smith
Lucinda is married to Steve, a GP, and they live in Preston, Lancashire. She has four children, seven grandchildren and a lovely chocolate Labrador! The subject she is most passionate about is IDENTITY, and, in the days before Covid 19, she spoke regularly at women’s breakfasts and small conferences. She is currently in the process of writing a book, The Red Thread, based around the story of adopting their fourth child from China. In a former life, Lucinda and Steve were medical missionaries in Pakistan. She loves mentoring young women on their journeys with Jesus, walking, books, good films and cream teas!
Thanks to Photerrestrial @photerrestrial for making this photo available freely on Unsplash.com