The Law of Seasons
by Michael Barrett
Nature provides a wonderful picture to help us understand some of the things that we experience in our walk with God. Our walk and growth in God are governed by a set of spiritual laws just as, in the natural, there are laws that govern nature. There are seasons and growth cycles in nature. Similarly, there are seasons and growth cycles in our spiritual experience. In order to maximize the opportunity for growth and development, we must learn to cooperate with these seasons in our lives.
Stephen Covey writes about the "Law of the Farm" as opposed to the "Law of Cram." It would be ridiculous to attempt to cram on the farm. Refusing to recognize and cooperate with the respective seasons will cost the farmer everything. For instance, you cannot forget to plant in the spring, play all summer and then cram in the fall to bring in the harvest. The farm is a natural system. There is a price to be paid and a process to be followed to get to the harvest. There is no shortcut on the farm. We can have the right seed with the right preparation, but if it is planted in the wrong season, the seed will not grow.
Just as in the example of the farm, we must understand that there are seasons of God in our lives that must be followed. There are no shortcuts in the Kingdom of God. One of the "Laws of the Farm" in the spiritual sense is the Law of Seedtime and Harvest. Another "Law of the Farm" is the Law of Seasons. In the winter season the activity and corresponding results are different than the activity and results in another season. Just as is the case of the natural, the spiritual seasons of our lives must be recognized and co-operated with in order to see maximum results. We must learn to cooperate with each respective season.
Let's take faith as an example. Faith begins where the word of God is revealed to our hearts. You cannot "in faith" speak to trees and tell them to bud if it is wintertime. When springtime arrives, however, you don't have to say anything to the tree! The tree will bud because it is the season for the tree to bud.
In faith we speak, we spend time with the Lord, we pray, we offer praise and we give thanks. There may be a time, a season -- when we don't see or feel anything from the Lord. It is a time for our faith to be developed. It is the Law of Seedtime and Harvest at work. We've planted and there is a season of growth in our relationship with Him--just as He planted into our lives long before we were aware of what was growing within. There will be a harvest--if we do not faint!
It is a curse to live from miracle to miracle. Living from miracle to miracle is little more than crisis management. We must learn the ways of God and engage His laws. We must be disciplined sons. We have grown up in a performance-oriented society. We must learn to allow for the growth that we can't see to become the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. (Mark 4:26-29, "And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.").
Whether we want to accept it or not, seasons exist. You will not always be singing the "Ho, Ho" song. The spiritual winter is the "dark night of the soul." Song of Solomon speaks of "a garden enclosed" and then says, "Blow O north wind." This scripture then goes on to say, "Come thou south." We must see that the north wind has a distinct, specific purpose just as does the south wind.
Oftentimes, when every petal is in place, we believe we are who we are not. There is a tendency to forget the source of our life. If there were no winter, there would be no spring. If there were no winter, there would be no growth. When the sap is forced into the root and leaves the limb, there is a deepening going on that is sure to bear much fruit when the sap once again returns to nourish the limb's new growth. In this winter season, there is great opportunity to go deep in God--without the demand of outward activity. In the short days of winter we can be made ready for the lengthened days of summer.
God is not always going to have us in the spring and summer of our lives where we have lots of experiences with one another and with Him. We must learn how to live in the spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Ecclesiastes 3 says, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
In Psalm 90, verse 12 David prays this prayer, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." We are living way too small if our routine is not our chosen destiny. The Kingdom of God is at hand! Kingdom come! It is as close as your hand!
The Lord is apprehending the hearts of His people in this hour. Where is He taking you? Don't fear this time or wish to take a shortcut. This is an important and necessary time. Be encouraged--you can get more done in the preparation of winter than in spring when there is so much more activity. We take root downward so that we may bear fruit upward (Isaiah 37:31). In truth, we take root all year long, but there is a deepening in the winter season because there is a concentration of effort that cannot happen in other seasons. We must learn to embrace and rejoice during this season. The Lord is at work tending His vineyard. We are part of His vineyard. Without this change of season, we will never bear the fruit that the Lord intended for us to bear.
In his book, An Enemy Called Average, John Mason tells the story of a tree grown in the Far East called the Chinese bamboo. The people plant this tree and during the first four years they water and fertilize the plant with seemingly little or no result. In the fifth year they again apply water and fertilizer--and in five weeks' time the tree grows ninety feet in height! The obvious question is: did the Chinese bamboo tree grow ninety feet in five weeks, or did it grow ninety feet in five years? The answer is: it grew ninety feet in five years. Because if at any time during those five years the people had stopped watering and fertilizing the tree, it would have died.
Even Jesus had 30 years of preparation for his 3½ years of public ministry. We, on the other hand, often want to take 3½ years to prepare for 30 years of public ministry.
There is always the Law of Seedtime and Harvest at work in the principles of God's Kingdom that govern our lives. "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Genesis 8:22). This is the Law of Seasons. The process of God is the promise--then the preparation--and then the performance. There is no shortcut. Enjoy the winter. It is a season of rest, of being still and knowing that The Lord is God. Rest while it is Winter for soon the Spring will come!
To go to a printer friendly version of this article click here. To send this article to a friend copy and paste the link: www.citychurchla.com/city/the_law_of_seasons into a new email here. Address the email and send.