As the earth continues to revolve in its orbit around the sun, June has ushered another season into our lives: summer! We welcome it with eager anticipation this year, especially after two summers of limited activities due to the global pandemic.
Now, in normal ways, we will celebrate graduations—from preschool, elementary, academy, college, and university—as we honor our children and youth who are moving into the next season of their education and future.
We will celebrate holidays such as Father’s Day, when we love on our dads, and Fourth of July, when we watch fireworks and enjoy picnics.
We will vacation with our families, perhaps to see grandparents. We will enjoy the out of doors, perhaps by camping or making s’mores. Trips to the beach and lakes and rivers will help us escape the heat and create memories together.
We will attend camp meetings and be inspired in our journeys of faith, renewing friendships with other companions on the way.
Summer ministries programs will be up and running, with hundreds of youth and young adults pouring themselves into the lives of children at summer camps and day camps as they model for their charges what a life of joyfully following Jesus looks like.
We experience seasons of joy in finding new relationships, becoming new parents, or discovering new depth in our friendship with Jesus.
Student literature evangelists will be out all over our union territory, going door to door—not just selling literature but praying with people, providing spiritual care for people, and leading them to Jesus.
Thousands of children from our neighborhoods will be attending Vacation Bible Schools in our churches, while volunteers of all ages prepare themed programs and minister to them day after day.
There will be life-changing mission trips out of the country for the first time in a few years, with adventures that will forever be woven into the memories of those who participate.
These activities and many more evoke other memories of summer, ministry, family, and relationships. We have long, sunlit days and more carefree schedules, and we will linger in this season until the next one takes its turn.
Scripture reminds us that seasons indeed come and go in 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, NIV).
Some of those seasons we embrace with open and welcoming arms. We experience seasons of joy in finding new relationships, becoming new parents, or discovering new depth in our friendship with Jesus.
However, some of the seasons of life are unwelcomed. We long for these seasons to be brief. Times of sickness, job loss, fractured relationships, and financial stress are all difficult days, weeks, and months to go through. A day can seem like a week, a month like a year, as we live in those seasons.
Scripture also reminds us that there is a time for every season, welcomed or unwelcomed. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.… He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11, NIV).
Whatever season of life you are in at this moment, you can remember that God has indeed made everything beautiful in His time—and His time is always perfect. Seasons will come and go, but God continues to extends His grace and care over us as we journey deeper into His heart. With each season, we have new opportunities to love, serve, and lead. We have new opportunities to discern what God is doing in His time in our lives.
I was reminded of this a few years ago when I was interviewing several 100-year-old church members for an upcoming anniversary event. I wanted to hear their stories of the seasons of their lives and how the church had impacted them in those seasons—as well as how they had served during those seasons.
One lady brought me to tears as she talked about learning to live in her seasons of life, adjusting and adapting to changes in her circumstances and health. At 100 years of age, she was unable to walk, had to be transferred in and out of bed, and was dependent on others for her care. Yet she was smiling and content as she reflected on her life journey. She had served the local church in almost every leadership capacity and had led many people to Jesus.
I will never forget how she looked at me and said, “Pastor Roberts, I am old now and I can’t do much, but I am doing what I can. The one thing I have is time. I have all the waking hours of the day with nothing else to do, but I can pray! I have committed my days and the times I wake in the night to intercessory prayer for others. I will be a prayer warrior for the rest of my days here on earth. It gives me joy in this season of my life.”
I finished that interview with a renewed sense of embracing every season of my own life journey.
Whatever season you are in this summer of 2022, may you remember that God has made everything beautiful in His time.
As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease
Sandra E. Roberts is the executive secretary and the ministerial director of the Pacific Union Conference.