Each season can offer a picture of what may be going on spiritually in our lives.
Whatever season you are in right now, you can be sure that God is with you, has good things for you and wants to give you his perspective. Unlike nature’s seasons, these spiritual seasons don’t always transition smoothly from one to another. We experience abrupt and traumatic season changes in our lives, and with each new season we receive a new set of questions to confront and wrestle with. Sometimes we can’t see the seasons changing; at other times we are fully aware that we are seeing one season break into another – but in every season God calls us to himself, and there are opportunities for growth and transformation.
Summer. Summer demonstrates heaven on earth. It is warm, abundant, fragrant and alive with colour and new life. Summer is good and feels good. It has been said that character is often formed in failure and tested in success, and so summer carries a note of caution for us if we are in danger of getting too carried away with the good times. It can be harder to pursue God with the same intensity from a place of feeling strong. It may well be that it was the prayers and previous feelings of weakness, frustration and hunger that produced such an abundant summer.
Autumn. Autumn declares a beautiful and dignified death. Nature puts on a show with tremendous confidence, a liberal scattering of seed, a celebration of all that has gone before. Autumn is good although it feels threatening. It signifies the end of some things – closure. It challenges our identity when we have to move forward without these things. How will we let go? How will we plant our seeds? Autumn teaches us to recklessly abandon to God the things we can’t control, and to do so joyously and without fear. God often stirs and provokes new aspects of calling in our spiritual autumns.
Winter. Winter hides treasures in the darkness. Cold and grey, damp and depressing and with short days and long nights, winter forces us to examine life more closely. Winter is good although it feels hard. Winter is the most transformative season: the seeds that go into the ground dormant with eyes of faith begin to birth new life. Hope is hidden but very much alive. Parker Palmer talks about our inward winters taking many forms – failure, betrayal, depressions, death:
The winters will drive you crazy unless you learn to get out into them. Until we enter boldly into the fears we want to avoid, those fears will dominate our lives. But when we walk directly into them protected from frostbite by the warm garb of friendship or inner discipline or spiritual guidance – we can learn what they have to teach us.
Spring. Spring takes fragile hope seriously. Stirring below the dirt are green shoots of potential. It isn’t always evident what they will become, but become they will. New trees, flowers and shrubs all start somewhere, very small. Spring is good and dares to hope. As winter gives way to spring the days lengthen and light up new possibilities. God resurrects dreams that have been long since buried, some for 20, 30 or even 40 years.
Extract taken from ‘A Call Less Ordinary’
Rich Wilson is movement leader of Fusion