Each Wednesday morning, my friend Neil and I walk for about two hours. During the winter, we walk inside at the fieldhouse of the university I attended and where Neil taught economics for 30 years. Weather permitting, we walk outside on what is called Constitution Trail, which was built on an abandoned railway, near his home. Over the course of two hours, we will walk a little over six miles. This is something I look forward to each week in this season of life, generally a much more relaxed season for me.The time with Neil is ordinary, but also precious, as I ask him about events, places and people from his life. Each time we walk, I notice new things that God has put before my eyes along the trail. Yesterday as we walked, I mentioned to him that more and more leaves had fallen on the trail. The air was crisp as well, and when we approached the end of the trail about three miles from where we had started, without trees lining the trail, the wind whipped at us, giving us both a shiver. Neil doesn’t like the cold and I sure don’t either. But the beautiful leaves still on the trees, those that have fallen, and the chill in the air all point to what we know – winter is coming.
If I had my choice, I would prefer summer year-round, with temperatures in the mid-80’s. I know Neil loves the climate of San Diego, which he and his wife Barb visit often to see their daughter and family. But there is something about God’s faithfulness in the changing of the seasons. My wife Tammy loves the changing of the seasons that we experience here in central Illinois, even though she too, is growing in her dislike of our winters.
Neil and I are both retired now. We are in a new season of life. Life goes by so quickly. I look back and can clearly remember being the youngest member of our leadership team at work. And just like that, I’m now retired, and my focus in this season has changed. In a way, I see myself in the fall season of my life. I enjoy spending more time with Tammy, writing, teaching the occasional class, traveling, and of course, reading. One of the particular joys of this season is that I have a lot more time for relationships, specifically with family, friends and church.
The Bible says a lot about seasons. For example, Ecclesiastes states:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die. (Ecclesiastes 13: 1-2)
What season of life are you living in now? Are you in the spring of your career, just starting out? Perhaps you want to be a leader, so you are working with mentors, reading books on leadership and taking on challenging assignments? Perhaps you are just starting your family. Or maybe you are in the summer of your career, firmly established, using your gifts well, still working to improve, and at the same time mentoring others who will be coming behind you. Your children will shortly be out of your home, maybe they will be married and you may be blessed with grandchildren. And soon, like me, your formal career will be over. Life (career, family, etc.), really does go fast, though it sure doesn’t feel like it when you are in the midst of it. When you reach the fall of your life, you will have new challenges and opportunities to use your gifting for the glory of God. Maybe you’re in the winter of your life, thinking about what kind of legacy you will leave or about things of eternal value? Do you look upon the changing of the seasons of life with joy or fear?
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart… (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Although the seasons change, we are told that God doesn’t. Hebrews 13:8 tells us:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
We can count on this promise, and know that He will be with us in whatever season of life we are in.