To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven…. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
I type these words on the first day of fall. It is a bright day where the sun is still warming the earth—reminders that summer has just ended. Yet, looking out the window, I see the leaves beginning to take on the spectacular colors from God’s creative palette. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler—and before you know it we will awaken to a frost coating the roof tops, car windows, and lawns. My wife loves the fall—and I would not mind it so bad, except those colorful leaves soon turn brown and cover the ground—demanding to be mulched, raked, blown, and piled. What follows is dreaded by me even more—winter. Everything looks dead, the wind cuts through you like a knife, snow must be navigated, and the heating costs assault your bank account. Changes—they are part of life—but, they are not always easy.
We may be a picture of health today and tomorrow comes with a diagnosis of cancer. Some have enjoyed visits and conversations with elderly parents only to next stand beside a cold body in a casket—our smiles replaced by sobs. Not all changes are bad, of course. There is the promotion at the job which increases both pay and satisfaction. There is the building of a new house. Perhaps, there is the birth of a new son or daughter. It may be something as simple as the experience of a new café with excellent food and delightful conversation with friends.
Spring turns to summer and summer yields to autumn and autumn surrenders to winter, only to find spring rising green from a warming ground before you know it. We have no choice in whether change will come—it will. We do have a choice in how we respond to that change.
God has a purpose. He has a plan. We must always remember this lest we become too comfortable in the good times and too distressed in the tough seasons. Through it all, God is the unchanging One. He is immutable. Christ is our anchor to life’s ship beset by winds of change.
These are seasons of change for our church. Times of challenge are real. This season does not call for us to give up, but to go on. Good people have died. Other fine folks have decided to worship elsewhere. Familiar faces in leadership have decided to step aside. We will miss them all. The worst of it, of course, is that there will always be a few who walk away from the church because they are walking away from God. That is the most tragic choice of all.
Brighter days are ahead. There may be a period of more difficulty, but God’s grace will bring us through. Fall can become winter. Thank God, winter is followed by spring! I am grateful for the privilege of serving as your shepherd. Pray that I will be faithful to God’s Word and to His flock.