The Seasons of Life

After over 40 years in full time ministry, I have made the decision to retire. Over these 40+ years I have had numerous joys as well as several sorrows. I’ve witnessed the power of God in people’s lives but also gone through some very dry, wilderness times spiritually. I guess with age and experience comes wisdom (hopefully) and what I’ve learned these many years is nothing ever stays the same. Just like the weather, and don’t get me started on the latest winter weather we’ve been having here in the Midwest, we all go through seasons of life. And guess what? That reminds me of a scripture!We find in Ecclesiastes 3:1, For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. So what season are you going through right now? Maybe you’re experiencing changes in your life that you didn’t anticipate, or maybe you’re feeling discouraged because nothing is going right for you. Or maybe you’re in a season of blessing, joy and abundance. One thing I can tell you for certain, whatever season you’re in, it will change. I guess that offers hope to those of you in a hard place right now, and perhaps a little dread for those of you in a good place. Like it or not, this is life. Ups and downs, successes and failures, joys and sorrows. The good news is that there is one constant in this world. That constant is God and His unchanging nature. He loves us and has a plan for each of our lives. He doesn’t keep us from the seasons of unrest or struggle, but He walks with us through it all and helps us trust Him more. He also offers us hope that this world is not our final home. As a Christian, we believe that Jesus is coming back to take us to our final eternal home in heaven. And though we don’t know much about heaven, I can assure you that it will be the most glorious place you could ever imagine.
People have asked me what I plan to do when I retire. I’m really not sure. One thing I’m sure of is I can’t just sit around the rest of my life. I hope to see my grandkids more often. I have this private goal of learning a second language. I am also in the process of learning how to tune pianos, thanks to my good friend Dennis. And I’m hoping I’ll still be able to use my gifts and talents in ministry. I am certainly looking forward to this new season, but I’m not naive enough  to think that it won’t bring new challenges and struggles. As I grow older, I’m sure this old body will start to break down and things won’t always be perfect, but I am confident that my God still has a plan for me and He will not let go of me. I hope He will use me in some small way to be an encouragement to others and I never want to stop growing and learning from Him. 
How about you? As you look at your life and whatever season you’re in, are you trusting in God and growing in your relationship with Him? Can you give Him praise and thanks even when things aren’t like you want them to be? The way I look at it, we may as well learn how to be content in whatever season we’re in, because we know the seasons will change. And yes, winter won’t last forever!
May God bless you!
Pastor Jim