Times and Seasons

– A MESSAGE BY DOUG YODER

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under the sun. Eccl. 3:1.

What is it like when a new life is on its way into the world? Uncertainty, hope, and expectation. Boy or girl? Who will it look like? What will it like to do? Will it be healthy? Then, sudden activity and joy. Even the most professional doctor’s eyes will light up — congratulations!

The time to be born is a time like no other.

We don’t think about the time to die unless we have felt it near somehow. Under the sun, the time to die is as sad as the time to be born was happy. Jesus wept at this. We miss the warmth of a human hand, words said in a certain way. The day is lonely, grey, and hard. Cold.

The time to die is a time like no other.

Each life has its times and seasons. There is a time for silence, a time for speech. There is a season of joy, a season of hardship. Times can be short and seasons long. Maybe very long.

If we don’t discern the times or seasons we can miss the most important thing.

Joseph knew that seven years of bounty would precede seven years of drought. Planning in the season of plenty led to distribution in the season of want. Would Joseph have gained anything by fighting against the seasons? Probably not. As things turned out, what could Joseph say to his brothers, at the end of many seasons, who had given him a dreadful time? “What you designed for evil, the Lord designed for good.” Joseph knew how to discern the times and seasons.

On a different day Daniel must’ve wondered if his time had come. But the next morning he woke up with praise because it hadn’t. A vision had been given to Daniel that led him to give thanks to “God who is wise and powerful, who changes the times and seasons, who sets up kings and takes then down, who reveals the deep and secret things, who knows what lies in darkness, and the light with him abides” (Dan. 2:20-22).

Things change. In our own lives, in the lives of our loved ones, or in the lives of our ministries, things can change slowly or quickly, and they can last for a while. We can be thankful that the one who changes the times and seasons is a God of love, who wants nothing but the best for us between the time we were born and the time we die. Our seasons and times are in His hands.

We cannot discern the times or seasons on our own. We do not set up kings, or take them down. We do not know what lies in darkness, or the deep and secret things. If we do not inquire of the Lord about our times and seasons we will step off the path of Joseph and Daniel, and of Jesus, who in the fullness of time came to be born, and at the appointed time, to die, in an act of deepest love.

What season am I in? How has Jesus been revealed in it? What does Jesus want to show me?

We can rejoice with the angels during the season of Advent that Jesus comes to those who long, and wait, and search, and hope.

Merry Christmas.