You Can’t Wish Away A Season
A few weeks ago, I was at worship practice when one of my co-leaders emptied her heart in caring-sharing time, and I felt compelled to do the same. Through authentic tears and a heartfelt, heavy spirit, she wept into the comfort of her boyfriend’s arms, sobbing, “You Can’t Wish Away A Season.” And ever since she stated that simple remark, I haven’t been able to shake the goosebumps I feel inside when I think about that phrase.
As a Christian, I have been taught to live and breathe the motto of Philippians 4:12-13. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV)”. That rather my life is all sunshine and rainbows or rainclouds before the storm, Christ has to be enough for me, and through Him alone, I need to rest in that contentment. But the life we live you see doesn’t always work out the way we planned or anticipated, and as a result, we add a lot of unnecessary stress to our daily living.
Over the past few months, for instance, I have been the type of stressed out person that I never thought I’d become. Especially after traveling to Canada this summer and learning to roll with the punches, I was dismayed to find that living that type of lifestyle full time, however, would be much more difficult than what I had in mind.
Finishing up my last fall semester in December, followed by an OAE licensure test, and Student Teaching in January, it is no surprise that now in March, I am feeling the repercussions of a burnt out, exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious season that has lasted much too long. From teaching and full working time to family issues, health problems, acne, stress, depression, and extra-curricular activities, it is evident that my soul longed for a break. And if I’m being real with you, my thoughts often spiraled so much so that I began to be desperate in my prayers.
“God, please just let me get through Student Teaching. God, let me endure all of this stress without dying. God, please help me to get to a new season.” Yet, without even thinking, I didn’t realize how faulty these prayers had become. Instead of wanting to rush the season, perhaps I needed to realize that God might be trying to teach me something in it that I have so desperately been trying to make it out of.
In the Scriptures, David, Paul, Jeremiah, Elijah, Moses, Job, and many others often faced this epidemic of longevity. Of wanting to fast forward their lives like the commercials of television shows to get to the main event. But what if these seasons, these times of hardship, turmoil, and stress weren’t just the mundane details, but the highlights, the focal point, the heart of it all.
In Philippians chapter 4 mentioned above, Paul tells us precisely this in that of his own turmoil, suffering, and pain of a jail cell. That rather we realize it or not, sometimes the seasons in our life that are the most miserable not only bring about the most growth but are preparing us for the future journey.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content (with or without clear skin, with or without stress, in a new season, or this old one) whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need (to want clear skin, no stress, a better season), and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation (with or without clear skin, with or without stress, with or without a difficult season), whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles” (Philippians 4:12-16, NIV) (Props to my boyfriend for having me read the passage this way).
Perhaps Paul, (who was formerly Saul) amongst many others, is just one of many encouraging us to press into our season wherever we are, just knowing that Christ will use it for our good. That no matter the circumstance, or trial, we will bunker down, whether the storms, and fight the fight, trusting in Him alone to provide the strength, love, peace, and victory we are most profoundly longing.
You can’t wish away a season, but you can press into Christ to live for more than, “God, just get me out of this.” Like Paul, we must learn to be content no matter the circumstance. To rest assured that having plenty, or scarce, God will provide for any and every challenge that comes our way. He will be our strength. He will be more than enough for our suffering, no matter the season we are presently living in.