- Eldon Peterson
Seasons Change, But God Remains the Same
Traditionally, Labor Day marks the end of summer. School has started and we are busy harvesting the cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers from our gardens. Summer’s end indicates that fall is near. One of the things that I enjoy about living in Cache Valley is the four distinct seasons. I know that fall is coming as the evening temperatures begin to cool and the foliage starts to turn colors. The seasons provides a rhythm that gives life order.
I don’t know about you, but I like order. Order gives me the structure and rhythm that I need to complete each day’s tasks. However, there will be days when this rhythm will be interrupted by the storms of life. Storms, like the recent summer day where we had a 2” rainstorm, causes us to pause, to reorganize our day and maybe even go into emergency mode. Such storms create in us a desire to restore the rhythm of a normal day where we can kick back and relax and enjoy the comfort of the season.
How we respond to these storms will reveal where our hope is resting. Storms remind us that life is constantly evolving and changing. Just as we anticipate changes in the seasons, we can expect them in life as well. The changing of seasons is part of God’s design not only in nature but in our lives as well. In order to respond to these changes, these storms, in a healthy way, there are two things we must know.
First, while seasons change, God remains the same. We can be tempted to think that God has forgotten me when the storms come. But if my faith only supports me during the sunny days, then it useless. Rather, our faith needs to rest in God’s promises which will never disappoint us, because, “God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.” (Hebrews 6:17–18)
While seasons change, God remains the same. Knowing this gives His people peace. But not only that, it also gives us the confidence needed to withstand trials and to discover the joy that Christ brings to those who trust in Him. This joy will outweigh all other competing emotions and will overflow in love to others. Having this complete joy leads us to the second thing that we must know: contentment.
In the depth of winter have you ever longed for a warm sunny day where you could go on a bike ride or lay on the beach? While such feelings are natural, it is not helpful to dwell on things that the season cannot provide. To do so will bring feelings of discontentment. Why do we grumble and complain about the weather? Because it is not what we want! We are like the 2-year old who is discontent until they get their way.
However, Paul tells us that there is a better way – the way of contentment. He says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11b-12) What is the secret? He answers saying that it comes from what he knows, “I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” (13) Paul’s hope, his contentment, is not defined by the season but rather by his hope in God. Knowing this allows him to thrive no matter the storms that life may bring.
Knowing this contentment gives us an eternal hope that cannot be swayed by storms. Knowing that God’s promises are true gives us a sure hope. When our hope rests in Christ alone, we can face the coming storms in season and out of season without fear. We are able to face them knowing that while seasons will come and go, changing with the winds, God always remains constant. Resting in this will not only allow us to embrace the seasons, with their trials and changes, but will also allow us to go through them with contentment and joy.