Coping With The Seasons of Life
Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes chapter three is famous for its first eight verses. The “A Time” verses.
Ecc 3:1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
Ecc 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted… and so on.
(Pete Seeger put Ecclesiastes three to song in “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in 1959 on his “The Bitter and The Sweet” album. The Byrds covered it and hit # 1 on the US singles charts in 1965.)
Gen 8:22 “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease."
“While” means: in mean time, from now on, or from now `til the end. Seasons will change and will continue changing until it all comes to an end. In much the same way, we will go through seasons in life. We will always be leaving one season and entering another. Trying to hold on to a season too long will prevent us from moving on to the new season God has for us. Trying to go back to an old season, as good as it was, will not work either.
God has established time itself and a time, or season, for everything with purpose. We understand that all things made or born have a beginning and an end, and we think of the hereafter and what eternality will be like. God has put eternality in our hearts. But, it’s not given to us to understand everything God does or will do in the future. We simply can’t understand all of God’s plan from beginning to end. We can though, with God’s help, understand there are different seasons in life and we can come to understand the season we’re in now. The old adage, “There’s a reason for the season” is true. We can see different seasons in the life of Elijah.
God brought a dry season
1Ki 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."
King Ahab was a stupid man. He did more to provoke God than all the kings before him (1 Kings 16:33). So Israel was going to go through a long dry season. At the same time, the prophet Elijah was going to go through seasons of growth in his faith. In a time when nothing else grows, our faith often does. He would learn to depend totally on God.
Immediately after announcing to king Ahab a drought was coming upon the land, God told Elijah to go east to the brook of Cherith. God told him to drink from the brook and that ravens would bring him food.
Okay, that makes sense. He has just made Ahab real mad and after three years without rain, he’ll get even madder. So it was best to get away. Surely there would be water in the brook for some time, but the raven thing took some faith. The Bible says,
1Ki 17:5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.
1Ki 17:6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
1Ki 17:7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
For a while, a season, Elijah’s needs were met by God—part naturally and part supernaturally—with no assistance from other people. This was a very unique and short season. The fact that God used both natural and supernatural means was not unusual at all, but that He did not use people was very unusual. It’s a wonderful thing to be totally dependent on God for everything, but like Elijah we’ll finally have to turn to people—God has sent our way—for help. God likes to use people to meet people’s needs.
Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you measured, it shall be measured to you again.
The brook and raven season had now ended for Elijah and he would have to follow God’s directions to a new season. Often God supplies our needs in natural ways, but we can count on anything in nature to finally dry up. The natural means dried up, but the supernatural was just getting started.
1Ki 17:8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
1Ki 17:9 "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."
1Ki 17:10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink."
1Ki 17:11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
1Ki 17:12 So she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
A season of growth
Elijah would now move into a season of relaying God to provide through another person. A person with little means and ready to give up and die. I wonder if Elijah thought, There must be another widow around. The ravens had more!
While my wife and I were living in Argentina throughout the 90s we have very little money coming in. We started out with $750.00 a month. With that we were to live, build an orphanage, help the needy and spread the gospel. All that in a country where everything was double to ten times more expensive than in the US. Gasoline was $4.00 a gallon there in 1989, and sales taxes were 22%. Argentina was not like Mexico. After we had been there one year, our income went up to $1,000 a month and our house caught on fire. The house could not burn, because it was made of adobe mud bricks, but everything inside was ruined. In that season the very people we went to help, helped us. We learned that love and helping is always a two-way street. In time our support doubled from that and we got a lot more done, but that entire season was one of totally depending on God and His people giving for everything we needed. We were younger and tougher then, and that season is gone. It was a good season.
While God sent Elijah to the widow for provisions, He would still provide supernaturally. She had almost nothing in the natural, and that was more than enough for God to work with. This would be a season of growth for both Elijah and the widow. She was ready to make some cornbread for her and her son, and planned on starving to death after that. As God supernaturally caused the meal and cooking oil to not run out, both grew in their faith and everything seemed good, but that season ended, too, when her son became deathly ill.
Thanks for reading, may God bless you.