March 21, 2024


Life is full of seasons

LaEtta Sandoval
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Life is full of seasons.* In our world of sin, everything has a beginning, and everything has an end—a season, or a time for which it exists. As Scripture teaches: “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 weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; . . . a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away” (Eccl. 3:1-6).

Our lives are full of seasons. Somehow, while we all know that life on this earth must come to an end, we nevertheless often think and live as if we expect it to go on forever. Yet, even if often unrecognized, the seasons of life are filled with many special things.

The Beauty of the Seasons of Life

Spring is the season of new life, “a time to be born,” and “a time to plant” (verse 2). The beauty of spring includes seeing life, growth, buds, blossoms, flowers: like the beauty of a new baby that is born, grows, and blossoms into a beautiful person.

Then comes summer, “a time to gain,” and “a time to keep” (verse 6). Summer is the season of heat and hard work and fun. Just as summer brings heat, life turns up the heat as a person moves into adulthood. This is when the most monumental events of life occur: careers, marriage, children, and more. During this season life is busy, often difficult, and yet frequently fulfilling and fun. But, as summer wears on, life takes a different turn. 

When fall arrives, temperatures begin to drop, things tend to slow down, and we see a different kind of beauty. Specifically, fall brings forth the beauty displayed as life is coming to an end. In many ways, fall is “a time to lose,” and “a time to throw away” (verse 6). The leaves, once vividly green with life, turn beautiful shades of red, orange, yellow, gold, and brown. No longer full of life, they are in the process of dying, but beautiful nonetheless.

God put this beauty in the process of such an ugly thing. Death is not part of God’s original plan. Leaves were not meant to die. People were not meant to die. Yet God took something that is painful and ugly in and of itself and gave it purpose and beauty. The colorful leaves that fall, while a reminder of sin and the death that follows, are also a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us, even as we are fallen in sin (cf. Rom. 5:8). 

On the heels of fall, winter follows—“a time to die” (Eccl. 3:2). Winter is the season of cold, bleakness, and death. For many, it is a season of hibernation. Many trees, with little signs of life, stand barren and still as winter passes. Yet even in winter there is beauty. God sometimes sends beautiful blankets of snow that cover the barren trees and ground. And even in the bleak times of winter there is hope. Winter is not the end. The trees are not actually dead; they are quietly sleeping (as it were), waiting for the end of winter and the beginning of the next season.

Spring Comes Again

Yes, spring—the season of life—comes again! Trees that looked lifeless spring forth with new life, signaling that winter is over.

After winter, spring will come. In the end, the Life-giver will come to call forth our loved ones who have died, and life will begin again! What a blessed hope! “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” “the dead will be raised incorruptible” and “then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ ” (1 Cor. 15:52, 54, 55).

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:16-18).

It is hard to give thanks amid the pain of grief and loss. It seems impossible to rejoice when someone you love has died. But we can rejoice evermore, and even in these hard times we can give thanks because we trust the One who is carrying us through our trials.

Just as there is a time to weep and mourn, there is also “a time to heal” (Eccl. 3:3). Our loved ones never belonged to us; they belong to God. He gives them to us for a time so that they can be channels of His love to us. Every day that we have them is a gift from God, but He did not promise that we would have them forever; only for an appointed time, or season. We should be thankful for every day we had and rejoice in every moment that God gave them to us.

God Will Provide

Just as God has provided for us in the past, He will continue to provide in the future. Although we received love, strength, comfort, encouragement, and help from our loved ones who are gone, we need to recognize that they were not the source of those things. They were simply channels of those blessings. 

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). God is the source of all the love, strength, comfort, and help that we need. And Paul promises, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). Even though we no longer have our loved ones who have died, we still have access to all that we need through Jesus.

We can rejoice because our loved ones sleeping now who placed their faith in Jesus are now secure in Jesus. They have passed all their tests, endured their last temptation, and held on through their last trial. They will never know another heartache or have any more pain. They have been spared all the trouble and chaos that will soon break upon our world. What wonderful comfort this is! Their work is over, but their life is not over. Their influence lives on!

This is why their death is precious to God. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116:15). They are forever His! Satan can never again seek to destroy them. They are beyond the enemy’s reach. Their destiny is secure, and Jesus lets them rest until He comes to claim His own. 

What a precious truth! What a wonderful end to a life of loving service to God. With Paul they can say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7, 8).

Until Jesus comes, seasons here on earth will come and go. Regardless of what season we find ourselves in, the everlasting heavenly “Spring” is coming. Our loved ones who died in Christ will live again, and we will all be changed and caught up to meet the Lord in the air. In the meantime, let us comfort one another with this blessed hope (see 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-55). When Christ returns, we will get to be with Jesus and our loved ones forevermore. “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11).

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

* This article was written in memory of siblings Ann Sowers (LaEtta’s mom) and Dale Thomas (Joy’s husband), who both died of a brain tumor.