For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT
Have you ever gone through a season of your life you wish you could have fast-forwarded through or skipped altogether? For the first ten years of my marriage, my wife and I struggled to get pregnant. We prayed, went to doctors, and cried an ocean of tears as we walked through the heartache of infertility. There were many days when I felt alone, inadequate, empty, abandoned by God.
As difficult as that time in my life was, I realize looking back how God used it to help me to trust Him like I never had before. I learned to love my wife deeper through our shared grief and appreciate the gift of being a parent better when the Lord blessed us with children.
Seasons In Scripture
In Ecclesiastes 3:1, King Solomon writes, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” He then goes on to list many of the seasons we as human beings will walk through in life. I believe part of why Solomon includes such a vast and beautiful list is to remind us of one of God’s most invaluable lessons: growth takes time.
Take Joseph for example (Genesis 37-50). At age 17, Joseph was given a vision of God’s future for him. Not long afterward, he was sold into slavery by his brothers (Genesis 37:18-36). Then, he rose to a position of influence in the home of one of Egypt’s most influential leaders, only to be accused of a crime he didn’t commit which landed him in prison (Genesis 39). He spent years incarcerated before finally being promoted to a place of power in the Egyptian Royal Court. There in Egypt, the Lord reconciled Joseph back to his brothers and then also used him to save millions of lives in that region from a famine (Genesis 40-50).
If God had made Joseph Pharaoh’s right-hand man at 17, he wouldn’t have had the humility, wisdom, and faith to lead Egypt through the famine. God used those seasons to help him understand the inner workings of Egypt, how to depend on God through the worst of times, and to show compassion to those who had wronged him. As painful as that season of Joseph’s life was, which lasted about eleven years in slavery and prison, it was crucial so he “could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20)
How to Respond in Any Season
Despite Joseph’s hardships, Scripture tells us “The LORD was with Joseph…” (Genesis 39:2, 21, 23)
No matter what season you find yourself in, know God is using this time to develop you into the person He has called you to be.
Rest in this, the God who was with Joseph throughout the various seasons of his life is with you during all the seasons of yours.
Like Joseph, you probably can’t see where it’s leading right now, but if you stay faithful to Him like Joseph did, God will do something good in and through your life.
God has a reason for this season. Listen to His Spirit and follow His leading. Look for the lessons He wants you to learn. Lean on Christ and other believers for support.
1. How would you describe the season you’re in today? What highs and lows have you experienced?
2. Read Philippians 1:6. How does knowing God will finish in you what He started with you give you encouragement for this season?
3. Set aside time this week to get alone with God. Ask Him to show you one truth that He wants you to know and also one action He wants you to take in this season. Write down any impressions you get from this time and begin to think through how you will put those into practice.