Three men are on my mind this morning. One is older and has exited his life’s ministry, having finished his race well. He will still serve his King but the echo of the shutting door which has cordoned off that time of his life is quite fresh in his mind. He knew it was time to go from there but parts of him were not quite ready to do so. This is a season of change for him. The second man is young and zealous, full of optimism and hope. He has solid discernment and is confident in his mind about how things should be. He is not a blind idealist, just a convinced and robust young man full of fire – both light and heat come from his life. God has withheld details from him about where he will serve but he has spiritual saliva in the corners of his ministerial mouth. This is a season of strength for him. All of these men are friends to me and the third one I’m thinking of is very close to my own age. He has been given great wisdom, uncommon experience for a man in his forties, much fruit from his ceaseless labors, unavoidable and manifold heartbreaks coupled with enough work to keep him busy for years to come if God is willing. This is a season of tiredness for him.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
Three men. One shared mission. Three distinct seasons. No one season should be preferred above another because these three men are all in the will of their God. They have mastered faithful duty and steadied themselves as soldiers of the cross. Much of what is occurring in their lives is beyond their control. Like all of us, they have been occasionally frustrated by this fact. Unlike all of us, all three have learned to abide in Christ and trust sovereign schemes to unfold before them. I wondered today when thinking about them if they would all declare this morning that they are being made happy. I hesitated from answering on their behalf too quickly. These men are wise and, even if they find themselves being made happy, they will not rest unless they know they are being made holy. It is not within my theology to say that being made holy always runs parallel to being made happy. I would submit, however, that being made holy must eventually end in finding yourself joyful.
When we stand outside closed doors, we struggle with being happy. When the strength-sapping duties fail to pause and schedules demand more than we can give, we sense a loss of what has been precious to us under lighter burdens. When our zeal exceeds our opportunity and we feel placed on pause or tethered on a leash to a stake drive in the ground, the circles we run in can feel futile. These seasons teach us all some very important truths: The One behind the closed door is more important than the door itself being opened right now. The One who offers to be under the other side of your heavy yoke is much more essential to you than the hope of relief from your pressures. The One who has tethered you to a leash shorter than you desire is so much more profitable to you than the freedom you crave if He would just turn you loose and let you fly.
These are seasons and they are governed by God who is anything but arbitrary and disengaged. You are in a season of your own right now; one filled with precious truths that can only be grasped in the circumstances He is ordaining. He did not send you into this season…He shepherded you here and is present and active amidst all that is happening. He’s speaking to you today. Be still and hushed. Not for five minutes. Not even for this day alone. Don’t put any stopwatch demands upon the timeless, eternal God of heaven. When your God is ready He is going to speak and when He does…
A new season begins.
Give to the ministry