Seasons of Life

Among the many joys I find living in what we call “God’s Country”, being able to experience nature up close and personal everyday ranks high on my list. It’s there in His created beauty that I most easily connect with God. Recently I was driving to Bonham, TX for an appointment. As in most rural areas of this nation, the backroads are often the most direct route, which means I get all the nature I want. It ranges from dense forests and rolling hills to pastures filled with livestock and lots of farmland.

On this day, God grabbed my attention on a two-mile stretch along a desolate country backroad to share a spectacular lesson with me. As noted in the four photos above, I drove past four adjacent fields, each in a different season of growth. In this microcosm of nature, God brought Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 to the forefront of my mind.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;

A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;

A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;

A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NKJV)

With that, I had to pull over, turn around, and park on the side of the road to consider what He was showing me. As I considered each field, I asked God to help me understand what He was teaching me.

In the field prepared for the coming cotton crop (top-left), the ground was tilled and the cotton bedded (to prevent its feet from getting too wet). God brought the words of Hosea 10:12 to mind; helping me understand that sometimes God has to till my soul deeply. In this way, He prepares my soul to accept the seeds of righteousness He wants to sow within me. This field showed me how God must sometimes prepare the soil of our heart for planting His word.

In the field next to it was an emerging corn crop (top-right). The planted seed had sprouted and was in tillering stage (an early stage of crop growth). During these early growth states (commonly referred to as V2 to V6), the young plants are extremely vulnerable to disease, pests, and other threats. As I considered the beautiful, straight, long rows of corn (I love rowing up a nice stand of row crops), I thought of the words of 1 Corinthians 3:1-3. Like young corn, new and immature Christians are very vulnerable during their early stages of spiritual growth. Another similarity is that like the corn, we can’t always know at this stage the quality or quantity of the harvest they’ll produce.

Two fields down was a beautiful field of winter wheat (bottom-left), ready for the harvest. I thought of Hebrews 5:14 as the morning’s soft breeze filled my nostrils and my heart sang “… amber waves of grain”. I thought of the mature wheat, full, hardened, and easily separated from the chaff. When they harvest this crop, some of the seed will fall to the ground; and if not eaten by birds, new plants will sprout up.

Between the corn and the wheat lay a fallow field (bottom-right). It was purposely lying dormant for a season of rest. With Psalm 23:2 echoing in my head, I thought about the many times in my Christian life when it seemed my personal growth and ministry efforts were in neutral. Not gaining or losing, I felt God placed me in park and at a slow idle. Little did I realize it was in those seasons that God was allowing me to rest after a hard-learned period of growth as He prepared me for what was coming. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve learned that when I find myself fallowed, I accept the opportunity for rest, recovery, and await God’s leading. When I was young in my faith, I wanted to be the next Billy Sunday or F. F. Bosworth. Sitting in park and idling meant I wasn’t doing God’s work. I was too immature to realize God was doing His work in my life during those periods.

Continuing on my journey, I thought about how all these different fields were in different seasons of growth. It was then that I recognized how God was showing me a microcosm of my life. God orders the seasons of our lives to align us to His plan. I realized that different parts of my life and service to God can simultaneously be in multiple stages. In my Christian writing life, God may have me planting seeds of faith through a manuscript I’m working on. At the same time, another part of my life, perhaps spiritual growth, is fallow and undergoing a season of rest.

The next month, He might have me mentoring a young person or discipling a new Christian—sharing what I’ve learned in my journey of faith. As I’m maturing like the beautiful golden wheat, I’m learning to trust God in controlling the seasons of my life.

Have you found your spiritual life has different seasons too? Click To Tweet

In my physical life, I’m certain I’m like that wheat and am nearing the harvest. When I consider my spiritual life, I often think I am much like the emerging corn—having lots of growth yet to do. Looking back upon my nearly half-century of being a child of God, I lament the time I spent as a fallow Christian. When I cry out to God for forgiveness for all those wasted years, I sense Him placing His arm around my heart. I listen as He whispers in that soft still voice, “Yes child, but oh, once I got you primed.” I pray He redeems all my lost time in service to Him.

God’s blessings,

 

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52 thoughts on “Seasons of Life

  1. As I read your reflection here, J. D., I could see the seasons of my own life unfold before me. I love how God showed you such truths through the different stages of growth/rest of these fields. If we keep our spiritual eyes and ears open, there is so much the Lord wants to reveal to us.
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. Yes Ms. Martha Jane! It is so very vital to our Christian walk that we learn to stay connected to God throughout the day. He’s always there ready to help us learn and grow; we just have to prioritize Him in our lives and not let the everyday get in the way. God’s blessings ma’am.

  2. What God pulled out for you to see and put to words to share is amazing. I need to re-read. The season of rest spoke most to me-we often fight it as useless but it is significant. Thank you.

    1. I’ve struggled in the past with those seasons of rest too Ms. Marilyn. I often felt that if I wasn’t busy doing something, then I’m wasting time and my life away. God helped me to see a few years ago that busyness does not equate to fruitfulness.

  3. How amazing that four crops in the same state were in different growing seasons!

    Most definitely I’ve experienced different spiritual seasons and without a doubt they’re often different from my neighbors’.

    1. Amen. And I agree, our times are not in our control my friend; they’re in God’s. We can only control how we choose to approach this life and accept God’s leading.

  4. J.D., your words on the fallow ground resonated with me. “I was too immature to realize God was doing His work in my life during those periods.” I think I need some time to rest. I’ve said yes to too many wonderful opportunities. I’m going to schedule rest on my calendar. It makes me happy to write that down. Thank you!

    1. I think all of us struggle with that fallow season sometimes my friend. I used to think I “had” to be busy in God’s work all the time or I wouldn’t please Him. I’ve learned though that sometimes He just wants us to come and sit with Him for a while. My favorite part of my day is when I stop beneath the pine trees on a hot summer afternoon and just listen for God in the breeze that always seems to pass through those trees when I close my eyes and meditate on God. Such a peaceful break from all the chores, responsibilities, and activities of life. I’m praying you get that season of rest soon my friend. Let Mr. Larry know that he should be grilling for dinner tonight. 🙂 God’s blessings sweet friend.

  5. J.D., your thoughts in the last paragraph about “wasted years” especially resonate with me. The LORD has caused me to flourish in my writing so much over the past year, that I regret the years I allowed to languish. Thankful, now, for God’s reassuring and loving arm around me. Your season’s analogy drew me in and there I was sitting on the roadside pondering the vast fields in their various stages of growth. Thank you, JD.

    1. Oh, your words made me so happy Ms. Kathy. What a blessing to share a moment of prayer and reflection with you sweet friend. I’m glad you enjoyed; and thank you so much for your kind words ma’am. I used to lament my “wasted years”, but I’ve accepted that they weren’t wasted, but preparation. Like you, I pray God lengthens my days so that my cup can be fully poured out for Him.

    1. Thank you Ms. Sylvia. As I’ve learned about your life of service to God through your blog posts and writings, I’d say you’ve done well through all the seasons of your life ma’am. I can’t wait to see how God uses you next. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. Yes ma’am; He sure does Ms. Edwina. I thought it funny that although I knew these things all along, God waited till that quiet morning to show me how my life is unfolding in alignment with His plan for me. I loved that thought; that I’m finally reaching the place God has always wanted me to be.

  6. Hi J.D.,
    I hadn’t thought about being in different seasons of growth in different areas of my life before. The Lord teaches me abundantly through your words.

    Thank you, friend.

    Peace and grace,
    Tammy

    P.S. Have you considered writing a devotional based on these truths? They are so rich and full of truth. <3

    1. I agree with Tammy Kennington. These would make a beautiful devotional book. For 30 days, or a quarter, and maybe even eventually extending to a book.
      They are so like the parables of Jesus.

    2. Thank you Ms. Tammy. Your kind and encouraging words are indeed a sweet blessing to me. As far as a devotional? I have several in the works, and yes, my lessons from the ranch is one of them. 🙂

  7. I’m leading a ladies Bible study, and just this morning we talked about the time we’ve lost in our earlier years–working, raising, kids, etc. The desire of our hearts is also that God will redeem our lost time.

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. I’ve wondered, if for us Christian authors, if some of that “redeemed time” will be found in the words we leave behind for generations to come? Thank you for your comments; and prayers for your women’s Bible study.

  8. I loved your descriptions of these fields and the lessons God gave you from them as you took the time to meditate and seek His teaching. And thank you especially for this lesson that you shared, “God orders the seasons of our lives to align us to His plan.” That’s a hard one for us to remember, but so important!

    1. It sure is Ms. Kathy. Coming to understand that “I’m not driving this bus we call life” was an important lesson. I still want to “take the wheel” sometimes, but we serve a loving and patient God that helps us to keep our lives out of the ditches when we do that. 🙂 God’s blessings my gentle and creative friend.

  9. So much beautiful truth here as always. People used to tell me how respectful and sweet my children were when they were small and what a wonderful mom I was – I always said, (because I knew!) that I made many mistakes but God in His grace has covered them and brought good from them. He does this in every stage of our lives and boy am I thankful.

    1. Oh, yes ma’am. “But God”! I’ve often shared with folks that “whatever goodness you might see in me came from all the godly love my mom and dad poured into me.” Of course, their love was a manifestation of God’s love in them. It took me many years to understand that.

  10. What a wonderful article, J.D. The photos and your descriptions of the various fields hit home in my heart. And this is a truth we all need to remember: “God orders the seasons of our lives to align us to His plan. I realized that different parts of my life and service to God can simultaneously be in multiple stages. “

    1. So very kind Ms. Karen. Thank you so much ma’am. And yes, understanding how I can be highly productive in one part of my life and service to God while other parts are being cultivated, maturing and being readied for use, or in a season of rest was a wonderful lesson for me. I’m so glad you enjoyed ma’am. God’s blessings.

  11. The fact that you stopped on the side of the road to listen and learn to what God was telling you is a beautiful picture of an eager child tuning into his father’s teaching. I love this quote: “God orders the seasons of our lives to align us to His plan.” I am grateful for the seasons of tilling and harvest. Thanks, JD

    1. Wow Ms. Mary. I never quite thought of myself in that light, but thank you. What a compliment; “an eager child tuning into his father’s teaching.” That’s going to stay with me for a while. Thank you ma’am. Tilling and the harvest are great seasons for sure ma’am. When I’m plowing a field, I listen to the strain of the tractor pulling the heavy implements. I smell the fragrance of the freshly tilled soil as it is soaking up the sunshine and nutrients. There’s a freshness in a recently plowed field. The harvest, which for me is mostly in the form of hay these days, always brings the sweet smell that surrounds you as you drive across the meadow. As I pierce the large bales to move them from the field to the barn, they release an aroma like nothing else. Stacking the crimped square bales, their hay seems to go everywhere. I’ll never understand how I get hay in my pants pockets. Neither will Ms. Diane. 🙂 I’m sure she must think I swim in it out there. So glad you enjoyed ma’am. Thank you again for your kind words.

  12. Beautiful comparisons between each of the fields. The way you relate it back to your life is why I love reading your blog.
    Let’s hope harvest time for you is a while off! We need men like you in this world!

    1. Am humbled Ms. Stephanie. Afraid I’m going to have to petition Mr. Mike to give you a few more hugs on my behalf ma’am. Thank you so very much for your encouraging words. Much needed this week.

  13. I wonder how many fields I’ve driven by without noticing them, much less evaluating them from a spiritual perspective. You always awaken me to possibilities that I hadn’t considered. I just had another surgical episode yesterday, and feel sidetracked and a bit frustrated by it. Thank you for reminding me that these times, too, have a place in His plan. God bless you my perceptive friend, for another lesson that finds itself planted where God wanted it to me in my life.

    1. You are so very kind Mr. Ron; and I’m most grateful that less than one full day after surgery, you choose to make time to read my meager post. And to comment with such encouragement. You sir, epitomize what we should all endeavor to be in Christ. Please know that I’m praying for your full and fast recovery and am looking most forward to hearing how much better you’re getting around again soon. God’s blessings sir.

  14. Such lovely imagery, J.D., and God gifted you with a beautiful message through His awesome Creation. I think we all look back and think, “What if…I’d been a better Christian or a better spouse or shared the love of Jesus Christ with others in a way that worked…” But, God has been with us every step of the way, preparing the seed (us), giving us nourishment (water and fertilizer in the form of mentors), and now we approach the Harvest. He’s got us, my friend and we’re still “growing” as He shapes us to meet His purpose.

    1. Amen! Thank you Ms. Katherine. You speak such truth my friend. While we will never be “perfect” or even “good enough” in our own eyes, if we are safety in Christ through our true salvation then God doesn’t see us and our many failures, He sees His perfect Son who stood in the gap for us. Loved your thoughts here ma’am. The best we can do is try to become just a little bit better with each day. God’s blessings gentle lady.

  15. This is such a comfort, J.D.! Don’t we all feel like we’re sitting still and not growing at times? I felt that way during the pandemic when no words would come. Now I realize that those times are part of God’s plan to fill us up with His Word and His grace, moving us into a new direction where our spirits can be planted with seeds for a future crop. Even the Apostle Paul had years of sitting still after his conversion when he was trained for his future ministry. Thanks for your wise insight today! Blessings!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed Ms. Karen. It’s comforting to know that God is working for us all the time; even when He’s completely behind the scenes and we think we’re sitting fallow. We’re not in “idle” , we’re in a “pit stop”! He is filling us up, revving our engines, and getting us ready for the next portion of this race we call life. Thank you so much for your keen insights and kind words sweet lady. God’s blessings.

  16. I love back roads – I avoid the interstate at all costs. I will gladly spend one or two more hours driving somewhere. I also feel closest to God in those areas, as well as in forests and gardens.

    1. Me too Ms. Robin. I always prefer “the scenic route”, although often times, they’re actually faster than the Interstate system. 🙂 Like you, I feel closer to God somehow amid His natural world. God’s blessings young lady. Please let Mr. James know that I stop and ponder the “Job Painting” you two shared with my family quite often. I almost always discover something new in its depth. Thank you again for your precious gift by sharing your talents.

  17. 4 powerful aspects of the seasons of Christian life. Now that we’ve moved to a part of the country that’s more…country, I’m loving seeing more of God’s nature through animals. Thank you for sharing, J.D. You are always an encouragement.

    1. God has most certainly blessed you with the gift of encouragement my friend. I’m so very glad you and Mr. Larry are able to spend more time in God’s natural world. It seems we just breathe easier, think more clearly, and can find more time to just relax and observe all that God is doing without all the distractions of the world. God’s blessings ma’am; and I’m so very glad you’re enjoying your new residence.

  18. Droughts, rains, blossoms, snow, colors – nature has a way of reflecting our own seasons of life both spiritually and physically. I wonder each year whether I prefer spring or fall but each has its order just as God ordained it to be. It seems I love spring when it arrives and then I love fall equally with its burst of vibrant colors. While it doesn’t necessarily feel like it, God is always at work during the droughts, rains, blossoms, snow, and changing colors. Praise Him!

    1. It certainly does Ms. Karen. The created world cries out to God’s majesty my friend. It amazes me as I’m starting to see how nature, animals, and mankind all seem to share some common threads through His creation. Let us praise Him indeed sweet lady. God’s blessings; and thank you for commenting ma’am.

  19. J.D., I love that you realized the tug of the Holy Spirit and pulled over to consider these lessons from God’s creation. We are all blessed because of it!
    Beautiful post, as usual, my friend!

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