As I write this the October sun is streaming in through my study window. We have yet to turn the central heating on, and the garden is recovering from the drought of summer following recent rain, rewarding us with late blooms and punishing us with the resurgence of the weeds endemic in our patch of nature. Most days I have heard people talking about “unseasonable weather”.
Seasons are an intrinsic part of the British psyche. We joke about our obsession with the weather, but we are all profoundly connected with the seasons. Most people have a favourite, but which one varies enormously. Some love the promise of spring as nature bursts again to life after the hibernation of winter. Others relish the long hot days of summer and the distinctive smells of a BBQ. Autumn days bring beauty even in the dying of the leaves, and winter the excuse for open fires and warm cosy layers in which some feel most at ease.
What can throw us though, is when the seasons are no longer predictable. This can be a bonus, such as a warm sunny winter day. It can be alarming, such as when a sharp frost comes late and we fear spring may never come. Yet generally, even amid the climate changes in our world, we trust that the season we are in will end, and bring another.
The seasons of our lives can similarly at times throw us a curve ball. An unexpected baby in later years, or illness in younger ones. Losses which come when least expected, or the gift of discovering a new interest when we thought such days were past. Whether joyous or heart-breaking, we find ourselves thrown into a season we had not expected.
The Bible is clear that seasons are inevitable;
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3
What is an equally clear strand throughout the bible though, is that God is the God of the seasons. There is none in which he is not present. None in which he does not love us. None in which he does not understand us and our circumstances, even more than we do, and none in which he does not either weep with us or celebrate alongside us.
That, surely, is a truth to cling to in any season.