A God for all Seasons



Before Resurrection Sunday I was generously invited to attend a very nice Seder meal administered by Congregation Beth Messiah, here in Houston.

Reading over the Pascha material, I was struck by one of the early prayers that we all prayed. The second prayer for the Lighting of the Candles reads:

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu Melech ha'olam shehecheyanu v'keeyehmanu v'heegiyanu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has given us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.

I know that this prayer is specifically about the liturgical season of Pascha. Yet, theologically, I have no problem using that as a thanksgiving prayer for my own life.

It was the last bit that struck me. In the last several years I have come to utter certainty that in all areas of our lives, we go through growth seasons. We have seasons in our work life, growing and moving from job to job. We have seasons in our romantic life, growing and learning in love. We have seasons in our emotional life, growing and sorting through all possible types of wounded-ness and habits that need healing and maturation.

And finally, of course, we have seasons in our spiritual life. As the Spirit moves through our lives, He moves through us to the degree that we are able to be moved.

"Blessed are You, O Lord our God . . . Who has enabled us to reach this season."

When I firmly grasped that life is about growing through seasons it meant (and still means) a few important things:

(1) I stopped begging God to take certain things away from me. Though I still ask for help and rescue when I'm scared or anxious, I'm not as quick as I used to be in requesting to be rescued. Perhaps I am to  learn some virtues in this particular season. Perhaps, just perhaps, God doesn't want me to be in the Spring season until I've gone through the Winter. So, it changed my prayer life.

(2) I stopped grieving as deeply when persons came in and out of my life. I realized that very few people will stay consistent, constant, bonded friends throughout life. That's OK. God is moving them through seasons too.

(3) I began embracing what new people in my life could offer. What can I learn from them? What weakness of mine can they sharpen? What can I offer them, if anything?

(4) It made me embrace and celebrate when I was in a productive, healthy season of my life. I celebrated God's victories. It also made me really grieve in sad seasons, and not just hurry on or beg for that season to change. Grief is just as an important emotion as joy. Both are involved in being human. Both are expressed, depending upon the season I'm in.

(5) It made me trust God more. Looking back on my life, I see how God has consistently brought me through seasons. Constantly. He's still moving. Through grief, through joy, through the neutral time, He's still moving.

"Blessed are You, O Lord our God . . . Who has enabled us to reach this season."

Thank you, God!

And whatever season of life you're in, whether it be at work, relationally, emotionally, or spiritually, will you join me in thanking God for "enabling us to reach this season"? Because He has. Whatever season of life you're in, you've only made it there but by the grace of God.

And that's encouraging.