Thursday, January 8, 2015

For everything there is a season…

I love waking up to snow on crisp mornings in Colorado. There’s something so peaceful and comforting about a fresh layer of slow blanketing everything (I just wish it skipped my car). And just a few short months ago, we witnessed the beauty of trees adorned with leaves of reds and yellows, and the beginning of the Pumpkin Spice season. Seasons in Colorado are the best.

We borrow the image of “seasons” to apply to distinct periods of our lives. “I’m walking through a season of doubt…of blessing…of trial…” Solomon poetically expresses that “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecc. 3). There are times in our lives when the sun is shining brightly, and there’s green life all around us. As we walk with Jesus things just seem to make sense. There’s a sort of glow in everything and we walk in the reality of Christ’s love. Then there are times where the joy is replaced with hollowness, when our world feels cold and void of life, where you look everywhere for glimpses of God and find only barrenness.

I’ve been wrestling through a season of emptiness, walking through something that is confusing, dark, lonely, and very much like deep winter. It’s difficult to explain what I am going through, but to say that I feel like I’ve been thrown into a room with the lights turned off. If you’ve been here, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. In my struggle through this season I’ve cried out to God to make sense of things, sobbed through prayers of desperation, and often accused God of abandoning me.

I sat in a Flatirons service one Saturday night recently as communion was passed out. The lights dimmed, and music played and I pressed in, wanting so badly to find God there. I sat there with that piece of toasted bread and plastic cup of grape juice in that dark auditorium. Searching for any reassurance for my hurting heart, these words came to me: “this counts for me.”

What Jesus did, what the words on the pages of Scripture declare, what my whole life points to, is that “this counts for me.”

There’s a reality that changes everything: if I put my faith in Christ, the sacrifice of Jesus, counts for me, no matter what. No matter what. 

In times like this it’s easy for me to think of faith and my relationship with God on a spectrum that has something to do with me and my involvement. But the truth is, I am either all-in or all-out. We either put our faith in Christ or we don’t. There is no room for one foot in the door. Jesus didn’t leave room. This is why Jesus required that we must die, and that He would then raise us to life. There’s no mistaking death. You flat-line, and then Jesus sets your new heart beating. And what happens then? You receive all that has been promised. All of it. Forever.

Here are some reminders: You are reconciled to Christ.  You are forgiven.  God is forever with you.  You have rest for your weary soul.  You can stop doubting God’s intentions for you: you have peace with God and you have the guarantee of God’s love for you.  You are adopted in.

What I want to say is this: It’s OK for you to be just where you are. Jesus still has you.
You don’t have to fight through dark seasons the right way; it doesn’t take the sun on your face to know that God is on your side. We are infinitely assured. Take a breath. Be where you are. It counts for you, too.

Seasons change. The trees grow beautiful and shed their leaves and are no less rooted, firm, and mature for it. The snow snuffs out life in whatever was green, but spring comes assuredly and new life rises again.   And so will we.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Hillary Krieger serves on the women's team at Flatirons. She believes that there is joy in the mundane, that the best days are spent exploring in CO, and that God writes the best adventure stories.

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